What to Do When a Loved One Is Killed in an Accident


Confronting the death of a loved one is never easy, and when that death was unexpected and avoidable, it becomes all the more difficult. In addition to the emotional trauma, spouses, children and other dependents often wonder how they can continue to meet their basic financial needs. For these reasons, it is important to act quickly when a loved one is killed under these circumstances.

California’s wrongful death law allows certain family members and/or the personal representatives of estates to bring legal action on behalf of certain survivors: 

  • Surviving spouses or domestic partners
  • Surviving children or grandchildren
  • Dependent parents or stepchildren
  • Dependent putative spouses who believed in good faith they were married to the deceased
  • Minors who resided in the household for the 180 days preceding the death

When a loved one dies because of the negligence of another, it is sometimes necessary to open an estate to pursue these legal rights. This is true even if the deceased had little or no property. Finding your deceased loved one’s will should be a top priority. If there is no will, an estate can still be opened and a personal representative can be appointed under the laws of California.

While it is always important to have sound legal advice following the death of a loved one, it is especially crucial when that death was unexpected and avoidable.

Topics:  Survivorship, Wrongful Death

Published In: Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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