California is a state in America that records staggering statistics of wrongful deaths. The death may happen due to a number of reasons, like car accidents or defective products. The statute of limitations for wrongful death in California is 2 years. So, loved ones are expected to file a wrongful death claim as soon as possible.
But filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California isn’t straightforward. There are lots of complications involved. Fortunately, an experienced wrongful death lawyer will easily tackle these complications.
This article talks about the different types of damages survivors are eligible to recover through a wrongful death claim.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A “wrongful death” lawsuit is a legal claim filed when a person dies as a result of the negligence and recklessness of another person or entity. These claims provide compensation for the loss of the family member and the survivors of the deceased.
A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim. The only difference is that it is not brought by the victim but by the family or estate of the victim. In the event of a wrongful death, the claim must be made as soon as possible.
As said before, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years. This countdown starts from the time of the incident. Any claim brought after this period is usually dismissed by any court.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in California?
Generally, filing a lawsuit is only possible for the affected party. A different set of rules applies when the affected party is deceased. Permission is given to close family members or relatives.
People qualified to sue for wrongful death usually depend on the particular jurisdiction in which they occur. According to California’s wrongful death statute, the people who have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit are usually the closest surviving family of the victim, such as a spouse, children, or domestic partner.
Where there is no available or surviving spouse, children, or domestic partner, next-of-kin such as siblings or parents would be eligible. In exceptional situations, you could have distant family members and legal representatives of the deceased’s estate.
What Damages Can Be Recovered Through a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongfully losing a loved one is usually very devastating. The grief associated with a wrongful death is extensive and cannot be easily alleviated. However, the families of the deceased can find some comfort in knowing that there are legal actions for some form of compensation under California law.
While there are several damages caused as a result, not all may be compensated. This compensation can be categorized as follows:
This is generally compensation for the direct costs incurred as a result of the victim’s death. These forms of damage are easily quantifiable and expressed in monetary terms. This includes the loss of wages and financial support the victim would have provided.
Another cost incurred is that of medical bills for either trying to save the victim’s life or time spent in the mortuary. You also have the right to seek funeral or burial expenses.
This form of damage generally includes the suffering and pain experienced by the victim from the onset of the incident to their passing. Unlike economic damages, they are not easily quantifiable.
Non-economic damages also cover the distress of the victim’s family as a result of the wrongful death. Here, the plaintiffs attempt to ascribe a monetary value, even though no amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one.
This is a unique form of damage with the sole purpose of punishing the wrongful act of the defendant. This is often where the defendant’s actions were confirmed to be malicious, highly reckless, or intentional. When pursued, this form of compensation usually amounts to larger rewards.