Wrongful Death Claims In California: What You Need To Know

Filing a lawsuit for a wrongful death stops future incidents happening to other families. Here is all you need to know to make a claim.

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Here in California, we see around 3.4 fatalities per 100k full time workers each year[i]. Although fatal accidents in the workplace are part of employment law, not all wrongful deaths occur in the workplace. Some happen on unmarked building sites, in the street, or while shopping in stores.

Here is everything you need to know to prepare you for making a wrongful death claim in the state of California.

What is the Definition of a Wrongful Death Claim?

First, let us discuss what constitutes a wrongful death. If you want to file a lawsuit over the death of a loved one, wrongful deaths must meet certain conditions. These conditions include:

  • There must have been a breach of duty
  • There must have been negligence or intention of harm at play
  • The accident must be preventable

If you are not sure if you can make a claim for wrongful death or not, this Glendale wrongful death lawyer can help you.

Who can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?

The definition of who could file a wrongful death lawsuit in California became law in 1993. The people who can claim according to this amendment include:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse
  • Their partner
  • Their children
  • If children themselves, their parents, or legal guardians
  • This includes stepchildren and other members of the household if the legal relatives are deceased (i.e., foster family, stepfamily, other dependents)

Again, if you are not sure whether you have a right to claim for a wrongful death in your family, contacting a specialist lawyer can help.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Cases in CA?

The Statute of Limitations is the window of time that you must file your claim. In most cases, this would start from the day that the family member died. In the case of filing for a claim for personal injury, the time limit would begin from the moment the accident happened. In the case of a wrongful death claim, the statue begins to count down after the death itself, which may be some time later.

The deadline for filing your wrongful death lawsuit in California is two years from the date of death. If you are already in the process of claiming compensation for personal injuries, you may wish to elevate your case. Some crimes have no statute of limitations, such as murder.

What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

To prove a wrongful death, the decedent must have died because of someone else’s lack of care. The death must have happened through negligence, or through a lack of risk management. Taking pictures of the scene, gathering witness statements, and hiring a lawyer to investigate further, will all help grow your case.

If your loved one is killed and it was not their fault, the best plan is to speak with a lawyer. Holding corporations and organizations responsible for their actions is the only way to highlight issues that they could prevent in future. It is not just about recompense for lost income or mourning. It is about making sure it does not happen to anyone else.


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