Wrongful Death Laws in California

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Losing a loved one suddenly because of someone else’s carelessness or fault is devastating. While nothing can replace what you have lost, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you to recover compensation for damages and to protect your family’s financial future.

At Zinda Law Group, our legal team has handled numerous wrongful death cases nationwide and has helped our clients receive the justice and compensation they deserve. We are here to assist you through this difficult time, and as our client, you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or willful misconduct, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a 100% free case evaluation with our wrongful death attorneys.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

According to California law, a wrongful death occurs when one person is responsible for the death of another and has no lawful excuse for causing the death.

Wrongful death can be the result of an intentional acts, such as murder or manslaughter, or can occur from negligence, such as distracted driving, medical malpractice, an unsafe premises, or any other careless conduct.

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, meaning that you can pursue a case even if no criminal charges have been brought. The person whose actions resulted in a death can be held liable for monetary damages.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Only certain people are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California: the victim’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children.

If none of these people are available to file a lawsuit, then a suit can be brought by anyone entitled to the decedent’s property by intestate succession. This includes the victim’s parents or siblings.

Additionally, others can file a suit if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased person. These individuals may include the victim’s “putative spouse,” children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, and parents. A putative spouse is a person who has cohabited with another to whom he or she is not legally married, but had a good faith belief that they were married.

California has a “one action rule,” which states that there cannot be more than one suit against a responsible party for the same action. Because of this, all possible heirs should be included in the lawsuit filing to ensure they are able to recover.

What Damages Are Available in a California Wrongful Death Claim?

In California, families may pursue monetary damages for a wrongful death. These damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for wrongdoing, are not allowed for wrongful death cases in California.

Economic damages can include the financial support the decedent would have contributed to the family, the loss of benefits, funeral and burial expenses, hospital bills, and the reasonable value of household services that the victim would have provided.

Survivors may also be compensated for such non-economic damages as the loss of the victim’s companionship, love, moral support, and guidance.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

A wrongful death complaint must be filed within two years from the date of death. However, if the wrongful death was caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of death, or one year after the plaintiff discovers the death was caused by the negligence of a third party, whichever occurs first.

If the lawsuit is based on a government action, including medical malpractice at a county or state hospital, then the claim must be filed within six months of the injury. Because of these stipulations, if you believe you have a wrongful death claim, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Wrongful death cases are incredibly complex, and if you wait too long to file a claim, there is a chance that evidence will be lost or that witnesses will forget details of the incident.

Get Help from Our Wrongful Death Lawyers

If you have lost a loved one from someone else’s negligence, the wrongful death attorneys at Zinda Law Group can help. We have handled numerous wrongful death cases and have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you build the strongest case possible.

We also believe that families should never have to worry about their ability to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations and why you will pay nothing unless we secure a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your wrongful death claim. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.

To learn more about how our firm can help your family, contact Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.