If you believe that you have lost a loved one because of another person’s negligent or illegal behavior, you may be entitled to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. The family members of a person who was killed in a preventable accident are often dealing with the devastating impacts of trying to put their lives back together after this situation. It can be an overwhelming and unnerving time for anyone, but the family members who are no longer able to pay their bills and are struggling to figure out what to do next are well within their rights to consider talking to a wrongful death attorney.
A wrongful death claim arises in California when one person dies as a result of negligence or wrongful act on the part of another entity or a person. This is a civil lawsuit and is brought directly by either the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate or the survivors of the deceased person. In all of these varying ways, a wrongful death claim is different from a criminal case for homicide. A criminal case for homicide is brought by the state and guilt in this particular situation is penalized with prison time, jail probation or other methods.
A family in California may contemplate their rights to file a wrongful death claim, even if a criminal case is already going forward because the civil case associated with wrongful death is different. Only certain individuals are empowered to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of California and that should only be done after gathering the appropriate evidence and sitting down with an attorney. The following individuals are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim:
- The deceased individual’s surviving spouse.
- The deceased person’s domestic partner.
- The surviving children of a deceased person.
A wrongful death lawsuit can also be brought by anyone who would have been entitled to a property of a decedent by intestate succession, if none of the above mentioned people are available. A wrongful death lawsuit can be extremely difficult to figure out how to navigate without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who has practiced in this field for years.