What is a Wrongful Death in California?

Accidents can happen in an instant, and when they do, they can be tragically fatal for accident victims. After a fatal accident, surviving family members are left grieving one of the worst kinds of losses. In addition to the grief loved ones feel during this time, they are also left with costs related to their loss, including funeral and burial costs, loss of services, loss of companionship, and more. 

Surviving loved ones can file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for these losses, but wrongful death claims are some of the most complex to file. A San Francisco wrongful death lawyer can help family members overcome the obstacles these claims present so they receive the full damages they deserve.

What is Wrongful Death?

Any time someone passes away as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of another person, it is considered a wrongful death. Wrongful death claims fall under civil law, and are meant to compensate family members and other loved ones for their losses. While it is true that compensation can never undo the accident or bring back a loved one, filing a claim can offset the financial burden wrongful deaths place on surviving loved ones. 

It is true that wrongful death claims are sometimes the result of criminal acts, such as murder. While a criminal case may arise from these acts, it will be completely separate from your civil case. A civil claim and criminal case are two separate legal actions, even though they may both be related to the same act. Additionally, a decision made in one case will not have any effect on the other.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The law allows only certain individuals to file a wrongful death claim. The statute clearly states that the people who are eligible to file a claim are the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or surviving children of the deceased. 

In limited circumstances, other people may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Individuals who can show they have a right to a portion of the deceased’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Parents and stepchildren of the deceased can also file a claim in certain situations, but they must be able to show that they were financially dependent on the accident victim.

Any time these individuals want to pursue a wrongful death claim, they must file the legal action within two years from the date of the death. This is the statute of limitations in wrongful death cases. If a claim is not filed within this time, the individuals filing will likely lose their right to claim damages.

Call Our California Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

If you have lost a loved one due to the carelessness of another person, do not hesitate to call our San Francisco wrongful death lawyers at Brod Law Firm today. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you navigate these civil claims, negotiate with insurance companies, and give you the best chance of recovering the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.


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