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Who Can File A Wrongful Death Law suit?


How To Determine Who Can File A Wrongful Death Law suit in California

If you have recently lost a loved one, please accept our heartfelt condolences. We understand the enormous challenges you are facing, and we are here to fight on your behalf. In order to seek justice for the loss of your loved one, it’s crucial that you speak with an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. The team of compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers will recover all the compensation you are entitled to so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. We will not stop fighting until justice has been served for your loved one.

If your loved one was killed because of the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim and recover compensation for your loved one’s death. The California Code of Civil Procedure specifies the individuals that are entitled to bring a wrongful death suit.

Wrongful death lawsuits are different than most personal injury lawsuits because they are filed by the survivor(s) of a person that was wrongfully killed. In most personal injury lawsuits, only the person who was physically harmed can sue. For example, if a person was hit by a car, the rule is that only the person who was hit by the car can file a personal injury lawsuit.

However, in wrongful death lawsuits, survivors of the decedent (a person wrongfully killed) may sue for loss of a loved one. If you lost a loved one due to negligence or a wrongful act, you are entitled to sue the person that caused your loved one’s death.

Survival Action Or Wrongful Death Suit?

It is important to note that there may be instances where it is necessary to file a survival action alongside a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is different than a survival action. A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought by the survivor(s) of a decedent on behalf of themselves, and a survival action is brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate.

A survival action can be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, if the decedent survived for any length of time after sustaining their injuries. It is often brought to recover damages for pain and suffering caused to the decedent and for decedent’s economic damages, such as medical bills or lost wages.

Instances where a survival action may be necessary include cases where a victim made it to the hospital but never regained consciousness. A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer is always here to help you understand whether a wrongful death claim or a survival action is necessary and how to go about it.

Individuals That Can File A Wrongful Death Claim

The basis for a wrongful death lawsuit is based on the serious challenges that the death of a loved one can impose on spouses, children, parents, or other loved ones. Often, the death of a loved one results in the loss of income, love, support, and more.

There is a limited category of persons that are entitled to file a wrongful death claim. The California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 lists the individuals that can file a wrongful death claim, in order of priority:

  1. The Surviving Spouse: The decedent’s spouse is always one of the first persons in line entitled to file a lawsuit.
  2. Children of The Decedent: Any child of the decedent can sue.
  3. Dependent Minors: In situations where the decedent was married and their spouse is already dead, any minor children who lived in the decedent’s home for at least 6 months can also sue.
  4. The Putative Spouse: A putative spouse was not legally married to the decedent yet believes they were. A putative marriage is a valid marriage entered into good faith that is either void or voidable due to a technicality. Under the law, the surviving spouse of a void or voidable marriage that was entered into good faith may sue.
  5. Children of the Putative Spouse: Children of the putative spouse that are financially dependent on the decedent may sue.
  6. Step Children of the Decedent:  Step children who were financially dependent on the decedent may sue.
  7. Parents of the Decedent: If the parents of the decedent can demonstrate economic reliance or dependence on the decedent, they will be entitled to sue. For instance, if they can show that the decedent was an important source of household support for them before their death, they may be entitled to file a lawsuit.
  8. No Surviving Spouse or Children: Anyone entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession can sue. This widens the pool of eligible persons to include siblings, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces or any other person that meets the legal requirements.

How Can a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?

If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful actions or negligence of another person, you need to contact an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer. A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.



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