Roses on a casket to represent wrongful death of a loved one
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Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences. When that loss occurs due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another, the pain is compounded. In California, families grappling with the aftermath of such tragedies have legal recourse through wrongful death claims. Here’s what to know about wrongful death claims and seeking closure in California.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim arises when the negligence or intentional misconduct of another party results in the death of an individual. This legal avenue allows surviving family members to seek compensation for their losses, which may include medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and emotional distress.

The family members who can bring a claim for wrongful death include the deceased’s:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Surviving domestic partner
  • Surviving Children
  • Other minors who depended on the deceased for at least half of their financial support and lived in the household for at least 6 months
  • Parents
  • Other heirs as per CA law
  • The next of kin
  • Personal representative of the deceased’s estate

California’s wrongful death laws are designed to provide relief to those left behind, ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable for their actions. These claims can arise from various scenarios, including car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace incidents, or defective products.

Navigating the Legal Process

Initiating a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, especially when emotions are running high. From gathering evidence and assessing liability to negotiating with insurance companies or representing families in court, an attorney can help to obtain justice on behalf of the deceased and their loved ones.

The person bringing the claim (the plaintiff) has the burden of proving the following:

  1. The defendant had a duty;
  2. The defendant failed to meet their duty;
  3. This failure caused or substantially contributed to their loved one’s death; and
  4. Their death resulted in legal damages.

Determining Damages

In California, the damages awarded in wrongful death claims may include economic damages and non-economic damages. Damages are influenced by various factors, including the deceased’s age, earning potential, and the impact of their loss on the surviving family members. 

  • Economic damages include things such as medical bills, funeral or burial costs, hospital bills, loss of future earnings, financial support, etc. 
  • Non-economic damages include things such as loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. 

Seeking Closure Through Legal Action

While no amount of compensation can truly replace the loss of a loved one, a successful wrongful death claim can provide financial stability and a sense of justice for the grieving family. Beyond the financial aspects, taking legal action can also hold negligent parties accountable and contribute to systemic changes that prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Statute of Limitations

In California, a loved one has two years from the date of the deceased’s death to bring a claim for wrongful death. If they fail to bring a claim within that period of time, they may lose the right to bring a claim for financial compensation.

Wrongful death claims in California play a crucial role in helping grieving families find closure and rebuild their lives after the devastating loss of a loved one. If you find yourself facing the aftermath of a wrongful death, remember that you have legal options to seek justice and closure. 

We Help Those in California Who Wish to Bring a Claim for Wrongful Death

If you have lost a loved one due to negligence or recklessness in California you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim. Be sure to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced California personal injury attorney. He or she can help to gather evidence and walk you through each step of your case. 

The lawyers at Ardalan & Associates, PLC will help fight for your rights. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

About the Author
P. Christopher Ardalan has been a champion for the people since becoming an attorney in 2000 and establishing Ardalan & Associates, PLC. His practice, rooted in Southern California, emphasizes personal injury law where he, alongside a formidable team, tirelessly advocates for his clients. A Cum Laude graduate of California State University, Northridge, and Loyola Law School where he also graduated Cum Laude and Order of the Coif, Ardalan's early legal acumen earned him the moniker “The kid with the golden tongue.” His accolades include numerous mock trial victories, prestigious memberships, and high-profile awards such as being a Litigator Award® recipient and an inductee into ABOTA and the Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. Recognized by both his peers and prestigious legal associations, Ardalan’s relentless pursuit of justice is fueled by a lifelong dedication to learning and a heartfelt commitment to his clients. With a reputation as a seasoned trial lawyer and a compassionate advocate, he finds the greatest fulfillment in making a positive change in his clients’ lives, honoring his role as their voice for justice.