Los Angeles Wrongful Death FAQ:
What Compensation Can I Receive in a Survival or Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, the representative of the estate of a decedent may recover compensation for damages beginning at the time the negligence took place up until the actual time of death, such as medical expenses, funeral bills, and punitive damages where appropriate. In addition, wrongful death claimants may recover damages including lost wages, mental suffering, and for the loss of the comfort, society, companionship, and guidance they would have received from their loved one.
Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Different states have different laws governing who may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the state of California, widows, widowers, or registered domestic partners, and children of a decedent may be able to seek compensation in a wrongful death claim. Parents or siblings may also be able to file wrongful death lawsuit under certain circumstances.
If you are unsure if you are eligible to file a claim, consult with a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer as soon as you are able. Some cases may be governed by a statute of limitations, which specifies how long plaintiffs have to pursue a claim, so it is in your best interest to contact an attorney quickly.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
In California, the statute of limitations allows wrongful death claimants two years from the date of death to file a claim. One common mistake that claimants make is waiting too long to begin legal action, believing the statute of limitations seems to extend far into the future and they will have time to address the matter later. It takes time to build a case and file a complaint, so the sooner your wrongful death lawyer can begin work, the better.
There could be additional deadlines you are required to meet as well. For example, an administrative claim must be filed in order to pursue legal action if your loved one died in an accident involving a government entity. You must file these claims six months from the date of the injury.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
- Surviving spouse - The surviving spouse of the deceased person has the first right to bring a wrongful death claim.
- Domestic partner - If the deceased person had a registered domestic partner, the domestic partner may bring a wrongful death claim.
- Children - If the deceased person had children, the children may bring a wrongful death claim.
- Grandchildren - If the deceased person's spouse, domestic partner, or children are no longer living, the deceased person's grandchildren may bring a wrongful death claim.
- Other dependents - If the deceased person had other dependents who relied on them for financial support, such as stepchildren or parents, those individuals may bring a wrongful death claim.
- Personal representative - If there are no surviving family members who can bring a wrongful death claim, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate may bring the claim.
It's important to note that under California law, only one wrongful death claim can be filed for each deceased person. If multiple individuals have the right to bring a wrongful death claim, they must either join together in a single claim or file separate claims and coordinate their efforts.
Working with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Los Angeles
Simply put, the sooner you contact a lawyer, the better. Wrongful death attorneys will be able to help you avoid missing any important deadlines. They will also take additional steps to lay a strong foundation for your case, from assisting you in identifying the at-fault party to determining whether to file your case in a federal or state court. They will ensure your loved one’s probate estate is opened, when appropriate, and that any and all notice provisions are taken care of.
Wisner Baum’s legal team fights for the rights of wrongful death claimants and has a record of winning high-profile cases. We understand that nothing can make up for the loss of a family member, but if negligence was a factor in their untimely death, the party responsible should be brought to justice.
Call our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at (855) 948-5098 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation with our personal injury team.