Why File a Wrongful Death Claim in California

by Staff Blogger | October 18th, 2022

If someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions resulted in your family member’s wrongful death, California residents might have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

It may seem pointless because no amount of money can truly replace a loved one or make everything right. Plus, repeatedly bringing it up can make it hard to heal and be at peace. But there are several reasons why you should hire a wrongful death lawyer in California, which this guide discusses.

What Is Wrongful Death in California?

A wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to someone else’s negligent, intentional, or reckless acts. In California, wrongful death lawsuits fall under personal injury claims.

As in other personal injury claims, the wrongful death lawyer in California helps the plaintiff to receive financial compensation. This is one of the differences between wrongful death and criminal homicide cases. In the latter, the defendant is jailed or put on probation.

Why You Should File a Wrongful Death Claim in California

If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death, you should hire a qualified lawyer to file a wrongful death claim to hold the responsible person accountable, gain justice for the deceased, deter others from doing the same, and gain compensation for your loss and suffering.

Getting Justice for the Deceased

Helping your loved one get justice by representing them in public and the court of law can honor their memory. When the responsible party pays the damages, it counts as obtaining justice and holding them accountable for their actions. If possible, you can also file a criminal charge against them.

A wrongful death in California claim can bring you closure and peace of mind.

Deterring Others

You wouldn’t want anyone to undergo the pain and suffering of losing a loved one due to negligence or misconduct. By filing a wrongful death claim, you send a message to others that negligence or misconduct that risks a person’s life is intolerable. It shows them there are consequences to their actions, so they should be careful.

Being Financially Compensated

No amount of money can bring back your loved one. But you can heal better and faster if their hospitalization and burial don’t leave you with a huge hospital and funeral bill. You will also feel better equipped to cope with your loss if you don’t feel the financial gap they left.

Filing a wrongful death claim in California will allow you to recover these expenses and the financial assistance the deceased used to provide.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death in California

Wrongful death can arise from several events resulting from negligent or intentional acts. They include:

  • Traffic accident.
  • Faulty prescription drug or medical malpractice.
  • Workplace accident.
  • Daycare or nursing home abuse or negligence.
  • Slip and fall incident.
  • Assault, violence, and other crimes.

The wrongful death lawyer in California files the claim against the at-fault party.

Types of Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case in California

In case of wrongful death in California, the deceased’s surviving family may receive two types of compensation: economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic damages include:

  • Hospital, funeral, and burial expenses.
  • Loss of financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family.
  • The dollar value of the services the deceased provided in the household.
  • Loss of benefits and gifts the decedent would have bought for the family.

Non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of the deceased’s guidance.
  • Lack of enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Loss of enjoyment of intimacy with the decedent.

Note that California wrongful death statutes do not allow these lawsuits to pursue punitive damages. The only way to seek punitive damages in case of a loved one’s wrongful death is to file a survival cause of action. You can do that concurrently.

Who Can File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in California?

The people allowed to file wrongful death claims vary by state. California personal injury statutes permit the following people to file a wrongful death claim:

  • The surviving spouse or a domestic partner.
  • The deceased’s surviving children.
  • The deceased’s grandchildren, if the spouse and children have also passed away.

If the three parties above are unavailable, individuals who can prove they were financially dependent on the victim can file a wrongful death claim. They include:

  • The deceased’s parents and siblings.
  • Children of the decedent’s spouse.
  • The deceased’s stepchildren.
  • A legal guardian of the deceased.

You can find more details about the matter in the California Code.

Why Hiring an Experienced California Wrongful Death Lawyer Is Important

Claims of wrongful death are very complex and involve many facets. You need an experienced California wrongful death lawyer to help you navigate as you seek justice and compensation. They will benefit you in the following ways.

  • They understand the law.

California wrongful death lawyers have years of experience handling various cases. Once you explain your situation, they already know what to do and can advise you on the next steps.

They have the tools and networks to file the claim swiftly and efficiently and fasten the process.

  • They negotiate for you.

The defendant’s insurance company intends to settle as little as possible, so they may use hard tactics. In this period of grief, you need someone who can be objective and have dealt with them so they understand their tactics.

An experienced wrongful death attorney is objective and can expertly negotiate with the defendant’s representatives, getting you the highest settlement possible.

  • They save you time and money.

Wrongful death cases can take up to several years to settle. You would have to spend lots of time collecting the evidence to build your case, dealing with the paperwork, attending meetings and court sessions, etc.

An attorney can handle all this for you, reducing your workload while doing everything faster than you would have if you did it yourself.

Additionally, an experienced attorney can help you get the highest payout possible by ensuring you get the actual value of your claim, offsetting the legal expenses.

File the Wrongful Death Claim

File this type of claim if you have lost a loved one due to another person’s actions. It won’t bring your loved one back, but it will get them the justice they deserve, which could bring you closure and peace of mind.

It will also deter others from being negligent because they will see the consequences of their negligence, and you will be financially compensated for your loss and suffering, which could help you heal.

Call Berg Injury Lawyers. We Can Help You With Your Wrongful Death Claim

If someone else’s actions have caused a wrongful death in California, call Berg Injury Lawyers. We are the wrongful death attorneys California residents rely on for knowledge and resources to handle your wrongful death case. With nearly four decades of experience representing clients throughout Northern California, we can get you the best results possible.Schedule a free consultation today to start pursuing justice for your loved one.