A death is considered wrongful when one person dies due to the negligent or willful action of another person or party.
In a wrongful death claim, the deceased person’s survivors and other beneficiaries may file for damages against those who they believe are accountable for the decedent's death.
If you are concerned that a loved one’s death occurred due to someone else’s negligence, and you have suffered considerable losses as a result, contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
The California Code of Civil Procedure (Section 377.60) gives the following persons or the victim’s personal representative legal standing to sue for wrongful death:
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children (biological or adopted). Under intestate succession laws, they are also entitled to a share of the property if the decedent did not leave a will.
- The deceased person’s financially dependent parents, stepchildren, putative spouse, or the putative spouse’s children.
- A financially dependent minor who resided in the decedent’s household for the last 180 days.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims in California enable the decedent’s survivors to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover financial losses resulting directly from the victim’s death.
These can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The decedent’s lost future earnings and financial support for the family
- Loss of the decedent’s contributions and services to the family such as child care, cleaning, cooking, etc.
- Gifts or other benefits the decedent’s survivors would have received
Non-economic damages cover losses that can’t easily be quantified, including:
- Loss of love, comfort, affection, caring, assistance, emotional support, protection, encouragement which the victim provided.
- Loss of training, moral support, and guidance (if the deceased was a parent or spouse)
- Loss of intimate relations and companionship (if the deceased was a spouse or domestic partner)
How Much Can You Receive In Compensation for a California Wrongful Death Claim?
The exact amount of recoverable damages is difficult to determine without a complete evaluation.
The court, after taking into account the evidence, must use the best sense and judgment to arrive at a fair figure.
Non-economic damages are capped by California law at $250,000 in cases involving medical malpractice.
Economic damages must be reduced to present cash value, while non-economic damages award must not be.
In awarding non-economic damages, the complainant’s grief, sorrow, pain and suffering, mental anguish, or poverty or wealth will not be taken into consideration by the jury.
Contact a California Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Calculating and deciding the amount of damages in a California wrongful death case can be very complicated.
The attorneys at Barrios & Machado have the skills and resources needed to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (714) 515-9696 to schedule a free evaluation of your case.