Can a Parent Sue for Wrongful Death in California?

January 27, 2021
Barrios Machado

The death of a child, especially one caused by the thoughtless or negligent act of someone else, is something that no parent should ever have to endure.

The situation is even more unbearable if a child’s death could have been prevented. 

While no amount of money can compensate for their irreparable loss, California acknowledges that parents are entitled to receive compensation for the wrongful death of a child.

Can a Parent Sue for the Wrongful Death of a Child?

In the case of the wrongful death of a child, the surviving parents have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for their child’s death.

While nothing can replace a parent’s tragic loss, suing for wrongful death can help lighten the financial load caused by the tragedy. 

Pursuing a claim can also help to prevent future incidents from occurring by holding the at-fault party/parties accountable.

Parents are allowed two years in most cases to file a wrongful death lawsuit from the date of death.

What are the Recoverable Damages for a Child’s Wrongful Death?

Lost future wages is one of the most important recoverable damages if an adult’s wrongful death case is successful. 

In the case of a child’s wrongful death, recovering lost future wages is only applicable if the decedent was known to have financially contributed to the family or can possibly provide future financial support. 

These damages can be difficult to calculate and establish in the case of young children and, therefore, may not be applicable.

There are other damages that parents can successfully file in court following the wrongful death of a child. These include:

  • medical expenses prior to the child’s death
  • grief and emotional distress over the loss
  • loss of the child’s companionship
  • funeral and burial costs

Wrongful Death of an Adult Child

Most court opinions allow parents of deceased adult children with a surviving spouse but without any children to file a wrongful death claim in court. 

Under California’s wrongful death laws, parents of an adult child are generally allowed to seek damages if:

  • the decedent has a surviving spouse but has no surviving children, or
  • the parents depend on the decedent for financial support

Contact an Orange County Personal Injury Attorney

Our attorneys understand that this is likely an extremely difficult time for you. We are ready to provide the dependable support you need to pursue justice. 

Backed by 25 years of combined law practice, we have successfully helped our California clients win tough cases and receive the financial compensation they are entitled to.

If you are seeking legal guidance over a child’s wrongful death, contact us today at (714) 515-9696 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

Have Questions? Get in Touch.

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