When a family member dies in an accident, it can be a sad experience. By holding the negligent party
accountable for the victim’s death, California’s wrongful death statute provides closure for grieving families
and the possibility of financial compensation. A wrongful death claim must be brought by a close relative or
friend of the deceased person, although this may not apply to all potential claimants. Whoever files the claim
and wins the compensation is limited by law.
It’s a reasonable question to consider if we can sue for improper conduct in California. Relationship with the
victim is the primary factor in determining the appropriate response. In this article, Stockton’s wrongful death
attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases gives a comprehensive review of the many forms of
compensation that can be awarded in a successful claim.
When Do You Have “Standing” In A Court Case?
Learning the concept of “standing” is a good first step in understanding the law. Civil legal claims, such as
wrongful death suits, may include references to this phrase. Legal standing is defined as “the ability of a party
to bring suit in court” by the Cornell Legal Information Institute. To put it another way, it’s the legal ability to
pursue a particular type of claim in court. However, not every wrong may be remedied by a civil action. You
need to have the right to sue under applicable state or federal law.
What Kinds Of Claims Can Be Made Under The Law For Wrongful Death?
Claims for compensation following a fatal accident are typically heard at the state level. Here in California, the
wrongful death law is codified at Title 3, Section 377.60 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This California statute
defines, among other things, the parties with legal standing to file a lawsuit. First priority for filing a wrongful
death complaint is given to the following individuals under 377.60(a):
➢ a surviving partner;
➢ domestic partner who has perished; and
➢ Offspring who made it.
In the absence of a surviving spouse, the surviving partner, or surviving children, the next in line under
California’s intestate succession statutes would have the standing to file the claim. It’s usually the victim’s own
parents. However, it’s also possible that it’s someone else, like one of their older brothers or a distant cousin.
Loss Of Life Compensation Reward Close Relatives
Family members who lose a loved one in an accident can seek monetary compensation from the responsible
party to make up for the financial support they would have gotten from the deceased had they lived. Damages
for both monetary and intangible damages can be awarded in a wrongful Death Claim settlement or verdict. Wrongful
death damages can include, among other things:
➢ Burial and funeral expenses;
➢ Medical costs that you must pay out of pocket;
➢ The potential loss of a family’s financial support;
➢ Heirs will no longer get their inheritance’s gifts or perks;
➢ Having a friend or loved one no longer around to share in your joys and sorrows is a great loss.
In determining the number of economic damages awarded, a California court will consider the real financial
losses sustained by the family. There is no predetermined formula under California law for determining non-
economic damages. Instead, juries are mandated by state legislation to utilize their discretion and common
sense in awarding damages.
How Does Compensation For A Wrongful Death Get Distributed To Relatives Left Behind?
Under California law, only a single eligible plaintiff may bring a wrongful Death Claim in certain situations. The
state statute may also recognize the rights of more than one party in certain situations. You may be wondering,
“How is the money divided up from the wrongful death settlement?” The answer is conditional on a wide range
of criteria, including the nature of the compensation being provided.
Potential Survival Action Claim For The Victim’s Estate
The estate of a deceased person may be able to launch a survival action claim in certain circumstances. An
the estate can file a survival action claim under the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30 to seek compensation
for damages, the decedent incurred between the time of an accident and the time of their Death Claim.
For families, it’s not a case of choosing between the two. A wrongful death suit and a survival action claim can
be filed at the same time. Using California as an example, here is how a survival action claim might proceed.
Suppose a person in San Joaquin County was killed in a terrible truck accident. They were taken to the nearest
hospital right away. Their untimely demise occurs 72 hours after the tragedy. Within that time frame, the
victim’s loved ones can file a survival action claim to seek justice and compensation for any injuries or losses
the victim may have experienced (such as medical expenses and emotional distress).