Wrongful Death Damages in California

February 15, 2021
Barrios Machado

Wrongful Death Damages in CaliforniaA 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.

Have Questions? Get in Touch.

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