Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

A "wrongful death" claim exists when a person dies as a result a negligent, careless, intentional, or reckless act of another person or entity. In other words, when your loved one dies due to the fault of another person or business (like a car manufacturer), as a survivor, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for your loss; including lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses. Wrongful death lawsuits have been filed over auto accidents, hit and run accidents, vicious dog attacks, and more.

How do you know if you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit? Not every family member can. In California, the California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 lists the individuals who are able to bring a wrongful death case.

These people include the:

  1. decedent's surviving spouse,
  2. domestic partner,
  3. children, and
  4. children of pre-deceased children.

Do not be alarmed: the list does not end there! But it does seem to get more complicated -- an experienced personal injury attorney in the San Fernando Valley can help you navigate the legalese and make sure your legal rights are being protected. For example, in some cases, stepchildren or parents who were financially dependent upon the decedent may also have the right to bring a wrongful death claim. As you can see, the potential list of who might be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California can be confusing. An experienced trial lawyer will look at your case and help you determine whether you have 'standing' to file the lawsuit.


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.

© Barry P. Goldberg, A Professional Law Corporation | Attorney Advertising

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