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California Wrongful Death Law

It is difficult to imagine anything more tragic than the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one. It becomes even more difficult when a loved one dies unexpectedly as a result of another person's negligence. In cases where negligence results in death, a wrongful death claim can be brought on behalf of the deceased.

Under California law, several individuals may bring a wrongful claim, including:

  • A surviving spouse

  • A domestic partner

  • Children of the decedent

  • Any other person who would be entitled to a share of the decedent's estate

wrongful-death-attorney.jpgA wrongful death case is brought on behalf of the deceased person by their next of kin. The following damages are available to recover in a wrongful death action:

  • Funeral and burial expenses;

  • Lost income as a result of the decedent's death;

  • Loss of companionship or support

Punitive damages, a special type of damages meant to punish a wrongdoer for especially bad behavior, are not available in a California wrongful death case.

Acts that Lead to Wrongful Death Claims

The fundamental element of every wrongful death claim in California is a negligent or intentional act that directly leads to the death of another. The following are examples of actions which could result in a wrongful death suit:

  • Car accidents, including DUI crashes

  • Negligent construction

  • Negligent product design, including defective products

  • Intentional acts such as murder and manslaughter

  • Slip-and-falls

  • Medical malpractice

  • Child abuse or neglect

  • Pedestrian accidents

  • Bicycle accidents

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

A statute of limitations sets an outer limit on the amount of time that a Plaintiff has to file a case with the court. If a case is filed after the statute of limitations expires, it will almost always be dismissed resulting in no recovery for the Plaintiff or those bringing the lawsuit.

Like all other civil actions in California, wrongful death cases have a statute of limitations. The statute provides that an action for wrongful death must be commenced within two years of the date of injury which led to death. A Plaintiff who feels that they have a valid California wrongful death claim should immediately speak with an attorney to ensure that their legal rights are protected. Failure to act promptly can have serious consequences to your legal rights to bring an action.

Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorneys

A wrongful death claim should never be taken lightly. These cases must be handled with complete compassion, competence, and skilled advocacy. We know that you and your family are already struggling with the untimely loss of your loved one. Our job during this time is to ensure that your legal rights are protected so that you can focus on what is most important to you - healing in the days and weeks following the accident.

At Selarz Law Group, our attorneys are effective and highly skilled in the area of wrongful death law. If you have a California wrongful death case, please call us for a free consultation at 310-651-8685 today.

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