If your family member has been killed in an accident under California Law, deceased family members have a legal right to pursue a claim against the party responsible for the death. The types of wrongful acts that give rise to a wrongful death claim are car accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, drowning, assault and battery, murder and manslaughter, elder abuse, child abuse, and medical malpractice. Heirs can also sue for death my dog bites or product liability.
In California surviving spouses, domestic partners, children, grandchildren (if the deceased person’s children are also deceased), other minor children (such as stepchildren) who were dependent on the deceased for at least 50% of their financial support, and anyone else who would be entitled to the deceased property under California’s laws on intestate succession.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, deceased survivors can recover damages for burial expenses, the financial support the deceased would have contributed to his family during their lifetimes; the loss of gifts or benefits the heirs could have expected to receive from the deceased; the reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided. In addition to those economic damages, damages can be recovered for the loss of the deceased’s society and companionship, protection, affection, moral support, training and guidance, and sexual relations.
In addition to claims for wrongful death, California provides a so-called “survival action”. While a wrongful death lawsuit provides compensation to the deceased person’s family members for their monetary and support losses. A survival lawsuit allows the deceased heirs to sue on behalf of the deceased estate. A survival action can provide compensation to the estate for claims for the injury that caused the death, provided the person survived those injures for at least some period of time no matter how short. As a result, the deceased estate can recover for the medical bills and pain and suffering the deceased experienced before his or her death.
If a loved one has died due to a wrongful act of another, please call our office to speak to a personal injury attorney that can answer all of your questions during this most difficult time. The Morris Law Group has more than 30 years representing the survivors of wrongful death matters.