Filing wrongful death lawsuit in California: Top questions answered

Filing wrongful death lawsuit in California: Top questions answered


If you lost a loved one because of someone’s wrongful act, you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation is intended to cover for burial/funeral expenses, lost income of the deceased, and compensation for loss endured by the family, or estate. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by surviving spouses, domestic partners, children, and grandchildren. It also depends on the circumstances. For instance, if someone was entitled to get property of the deceased as per the state laws of California, they can also file a wrongful death lawsuit. In this post, we are answering some of the relevant questions.

  1. What damages can be recovered?

In case of wrongful death lawsuits, the compensation is intended to help the heirs. The idea is to offer a settlement that can reasonably cover the amount that heirs may have got from the deceased. In California, it is possible to seek both economic and noneconomic losses through a wrongful death suit. Various factors determine the compensation, including life expectancy of the deceased. Economic damages cover for the financial support for the heirs that the deceased may have spent, burial expenses, funeral costs, and loss of gifts.

  1. Is it possible to sue for punitive damages?

In California, heirs cannot seek punitive damages from a wrongful death lawsuit.

  1. What is the statute of limitations in California?

Like other states, California also has a statute of limitations. It allows heirs to file a lawsuit within two years, from the date of death of the deceased. When it comes to survival actions, the estate can file a lawsuit within two years, from the later of date of an injury, or six months after death.

Get an attorney

Hiring an attorney is important for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, even though not compulsory. When you have lost a dear one, it is hard to quantify your losses. An attorney can help with that. They can also negotiate with the other party and insurance companies, so that a fair settlement can be reached. Most personal injury lawyers in California work on a contingency fee for such cases, so you don’t have to pay the lawyer right away. If and when they win a settlement, they will ask for a contingency fee, ranging between 25% and 40%.

Meet an attorney to discuss the contingency fee and other aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit. You don’t have much time to take action.

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