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Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Have you recently lost a loved one and wonder if you would be able to bring a wrongful Death lawsuit to court? California law statutes can be confusing at best. Let's start at the beginning, and we'll help you determine if you just might have a case.

What Is Wrongful Death?

When someone dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, a wrongful death has occurred. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It is actually possible to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit alongside a criminal trial proceeding. These two actions would be totally separate cases.

Who Can File a Lawsuit?

Not everyone can file a claim under this statute. The law gives the following people the ability to bring a lawsuit.

  • The deceased's spouse or domestic partner
  • The deceased's children
  • If there is no one directly in line to inherit the deceased's estate, then anyone who is entitled to the estate by intestate succession may file. This could include the deceased's parents, siblings, etc.

In addition to those listed above, the following people may bring a claim if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased.

  • An ex-spouse and their children
  • The deceased's parents
  • Step-children

What Damages Are Available?

Keep in mind, this is a civil case, not criminal. Any damages awarded will be monetary in nature. Money can be awarded to cover the funeral and final expenses, as well as future income that the deceased would have earned had they lived to a normal age.

Family members may also be entitled to financial compensation for loss of love, household services, and even moral support.

If you believe that you may have a wrongful death claim, please contact us for a consultation. We can help you work through the process and get the compensation you deserve from the negligent party.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.