A wrongful death claim arises when a person’s life is taken as a result from a negligent or willful act of another person or persons. It is an area governed in the State of California by statute and can be complex and requires the help of those with experience in the area to properly bring a claim.
This type of claim is different from many other lawsuits in that it is not brought by the person who experienced the injury, but rather the survivors of the deceased. Who are these survivors who are entitled by law to bring such a suit?
Why Does the Wrongful Death Suit Exist?
Before answering who is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim, it may be best to ask why such a claim exists in the first place. A wrongful death claim is meant to compensate those survivors who had a familial connection with the deceased and are suffering due to the loss of life. While everyone who knew the deceased suffers when they pass, certain people suffer more and are entitled by law to bring a claim for economic compensation for that loss.
For example, a spouse should have enjoyed the companionship and economic earnings of their partner for years to come, but are now deprived of those benefits of marriage. Children who wrongfully lose parents do not have the emotional and financial support that they otherwise would. The wrongful death claim gives economic compensation for those who have suffered emotionally and financially from the wrongful death of the deceased.
Who Can and Can Not Bring a Wrongful Death
By California statute, only certain people, generally family members, are allowed to bring a wrongful death claim. People considered to be family members generally are:
- Life Partners
- Putative Spouses (Spouses who believed in good faith they were married to the deceased)
- Same Sex Partners
- Minor Children (including adopted children)
It is worth repeating once again that it is only family members who can sustain a wrongful death claim. This means that people in the deceased’s life like close friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends or those who were supported by the deceased are generally not entitled to bring a wrongful death claim, no matter how close they were to the deceased.
Determine if You are a Survivor Entitled to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
Determining whether you are a survivor entitled to bring a wrongful death claim can be complex in some situations, and successfully bringing such a suit can be difficult. It is always advisable to be represented by an experienced attorney. Let Injury Trial Lawyers, APC guide you through your difficult times and help you get financial compensation. While money cannot replace the loss of a loved one, it can help make your life easier.