Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

Losing a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly in an accident can be devastating, particularly for family members who depend on that person for love and support.

Another person’s negligence or wrongdoing may have caused the car crash, pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, truck accident, or medical malpractice leading to the death of a family member. In any of these cases, the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60 provides certain family members a right to claim damages for the wrongful death of a loved one.

Who May Claim Damages for Wrongful Death?

As a general rule, the surviving spouse, domestic partner and children of the decedent may file a suit for wrongful death against the person/s responsible for decedent’s accident. Others who depended on the decedent for support, such as stepchildren and parents, and minors who resided in the decedent’s household, can also file a claim for damages arising from wrongful death.

Types of Compensation in Wrongful Death

Economic Damages 

Plaintiffs in a wrongful death case may be awarded economic damages consisting of: 

  • Financial support that the decedent would have provided to the plaintiffs during his lifetime
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of gifts that the plaintiffs would have received from the decedent
  • Reasonable value of household services that the decedent would have provided

Non-Economic Damages 

Non-economic damages refer to the loss of love, companionship, care, protection, comfort, affection, and moral support that the decedent would have provided the plaintiffs during his lifetime. No set standard is provided for measuring non-economic damages which will depend on the presentation of evidence of such losses.

Importance of Personal Injury Attorney 

Certain elements must be established for a wrongful death claim to prosper. An experienced lawyer can establish the wrong done, negligence or fault of the other party, the relationship between the plaintiff and the decedent, the earning capacity of the decedent, and the various losses suffered by the surviving heirs as a result of the wrongful death. 

If you lost a loved one in an accident due to the fault or wrongdoing of another person, a personal injury attorney can assess your situation to determine whether a claim for wrongful death is available. 

In Los Angeles, California, the lawyers at Fox & Fox Corporation have over 3 decades of personal injury experience, aggressively litigating claims and obtaining the maximum compensation to which our clients are legally entitled, and deserve. 

We invite you to contact any of our approachable attorneys at (818) 986-4494 for a free no-obligation consultation.