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What Qualifies a Tragedy as Wrongful Death in California?

October 19, 2021 Posted In

What Qualifies a Tragedy as Wrongful Death in California?There’s nothing more painful and tragic than losing a loved one amidst circumstances you feel could have been avoided. When someone you love is a victim of a willful or negligent act, a wrongful death suit may provide a sense of justice and compensation to those left behind. An effective case, depending on the circumstances of the lawsuit, may lead to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.

Before you can pursue a case for recovery, however, it’s first important to determine if you qualify to bring forth a wrongful death claim in California. To better understand if you meet the criteria, you should know California’s definition of wrongful death and the elements necessary to prove a wrongful death claim. Likewise, it’s imperative that you secure the help of a knowledgeable California wrongful death lawyer who can help you determine if you have a case and seek fair compensation for your wrongful death claim.

Understanding California’s Definition of Wrongful Death

California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 specifies wrongful death as a fatality caused by someone else’s wrongful act or neglect. This broad definition can encompass many different wrongful, negligent, reckless, or criminal actions by a defendant. California’s wrongful death law enables surviving family members to sue for damages.

In California, the parties who may file claims for wrongful death are the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, the decedent’s surviving children, or the decedent’s grandchildren. If there’s no surviving person in the deceased’s line of descent, a lawsuit may be submitted by those “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.” This can include the deceased’s parents or siblings.

To prove a wrongful death claim in the state of California, you and your lawyer must confirm and present the following elements: 

  • The defendant owed the deceased a duty to exercise reasonable care
  • The defendant did not fulfill their duty of care to the decedent
  • The defendant’s act of negligence caused the death
  • The plaintiff suffered compensable damages because of the defendant’s breach of duty

Acts that can and often cause wrongful death include car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, assault and battery, murder or manslaughter, elder abuse or neglect, child abuse or neglect, medical malpractice, and more. A knowledgeable lawyer will best be able to help you determine if you qualify to pursue a wrongful death suit in California. 

Damages Recoverable in San Jose Wrongful Death Actions

Money doesn’t bring back a loved one, nor does it ease a family’s pain. However, it can help to replace the deceased’s income and provide a sense of relief as families mourn and move forward with their lives.

Generally speaking, damages in wrongful death actions fall into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are set costs associated with losing a loved one, such as uninsured medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and

lost wages and income. Non-economic damages seek to compensate for difficult-to-define harm resulting from an untimely death. This can include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and more. 

An experienced and knowledgeable California wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you secure this compensation so you can focus on what matters most: mourning the loss of your loved one and celebrating their life. For legal representation, contact the compassionate California wrongful death attorneys at Danko Meredith today.

Contact an Experienced California Wrongful Death Lawyer at Danko Meredith Today

At Danko Meredith, Trial Lawyers, our California wrongful death attorneys have represented countless families who have lost loved ones because of the negligence of others. If you’re seeking peace of mind and a compassionate legal partner ready to make the situation right, you’ve come to the right place. Our attorneys are recognized for their excellence, but their compassion, sensitivity, and ability to fight for the best possible outcome endears them to their clients.

At Danko Meredith, we’re committed to helping you pursue the compensation you need after a wrongful death, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A wrongful death attorney from our knowledgeable team is dedicated to helping clients like you understand California’s wrongful death law and pursue the legal options that are in your family’s best interests. For a free consultation, give us a call at (650) 453-3600 or complete our contact form today.