Filing a Wrongful Death Claim After the Passing of a Loved One

The sudden and unexpected passing of a loved one is a terribly difficult experience to endure, and it is possible to feel the impact in many areas of life. While the emotional trauma can be difficult to overcome, a sudden passing of a person is often followed by financial burdens as well. 

If you have recently lost someone you care about because of the careless actions of another person, company, or organization, there may be an opportunity to recover damages. 

Wrongful Death Claims in California

As it pertains to California’s Code of Civil Procedure §377.60, a cause of action for the death of an individual caused by negligence or wrongful actions can be asserted by certain individuals. Individuals who have legal standing in a wrongful death claim in California include:

  • The decedent’s domestic partner or surviving spouse, 
  • Children, and
  • Those who would be entitled to the decedent’s property by intestate succession.


Incidents That Could Lead to a Wrongful Death Claim

Nearly every negligent accident that resulted in the untimely death of a person can result in a wrongful death claim. In California, a few of the most common types of accidents that can incite a wrongful death claim include:

  • Automobile accidents, 
  • Commercial vehicle accidents, 
  • Motorcycle accidents, 
  • Incidents involving premises liability,
  • Workplace accidents, and
  • Products liability. 


Available Damages in a Claim

There are various damages available when filing for a wrongful death claim in the State of California. Recoverable damages will be determined based on the specific facts of each case. Damages that are usually awarded include:

  • Any incurred medical costs associated with the victim’s injury before his or her passing; 
  • The costs for a funeral, burial, and/or crematory services; 
  • The loss of income and the loss of future earnings the victim would have been expected to earn; 
  • The value of the victim’s household contributions; 
  • The loss of expected inheritance; and
  • The loss of companionship, love, guidance, and emotional support.


The Importance of Negotiating a Fair Settlement Following a Tragic Accident

Unexpected accidents can happen at any given moment, and tragically, some of these accidents can result in the loss of a loved one. As difficult as it is to come to terms with the loss, it is important to take immediate action against the responsible party who caused the accident. 

If you recently lost someone you loved, speak to a wrongful death attorney who will take care of the legal process for you. In many cases, the liable party’s insurance company will attempt to provide a lowballed offer in order to close the case fast. A low offer is unjust, and will rarely cover the expenses caused as a result of the victim’s death. Consult the support of a personal injury lawyer who has the experience necessary to vigorously defend your right to a maximum compensation. 


What is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in California?

In general, wrongful death cases involve more significant damages than personal injury claims involving less serious consequences. For this reason, wrongful death settlements tend to be larger, on average, than other types of personal injury settlements.


There is No Such thing as an “Average” Wrongful Death Settlement

Generally speaking, wrongful death cases involve significant damages than an average personal injury claim. Because of this, wrongful death settlements and verdicts are often larger and more comprehensive than other types of injury settlements.

Deaths resulting from unintentional injuries are a surprisingly relatively rare occurrence, and each case is carefully evaluated by insurance companies, attorneys, and the judge. 

Due to this set of circumstances, each wrongful death lawsuit varies and the amount of compensation that surviving family members can recover in a settlement or jury verdict is based on a number of factors, including:

  • The age of the victim
  • The earning potential of the victim
  • The type of accident in which the victim was involved
  • Whether or not the victim surviving for a significant period of time after the ultimately fatal accident occurred
  • The insurance policy limits of the at-fault party

If a family member was killed in an accident of some sort, it’s critical that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The State of California has a 2 Year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, which prevents you from bringing a legal action if this expires. Although there are some exceptions to this rule, you should discuss your matter thoroughly with a lawyer well versed in wrongful death claims.  

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