Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in California?

wrongful death claim

Regardless of the circumstances, the loss of a loved one is always heartbreaking. However, it is unacceptable to lose a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful actions, whether they were accidental or intentional. Unfortunately, individuals may lose their loved ones too soon because of the wrongful actions of another. In California, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by the fault of another person or entity. If the decedent had survived their illness or injury, they would have been able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, if the party who caused the death would had otherwise acted differently the decedent would still be alive today. If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful acts of another, please don’t hesitate to contact our compassionate Santa Clara County Wrongful Death Attorney who can help you seek justice on behalf of your loved one.

Who is legally entitled to file a wrongful death claim in California?

Similarly to other states, California restricts who can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased person who has died due to the negligent or intentional wrongful actions of another. In some states, the decedent’s appointed personal representative (executor) is the only eligible party who can file this type of claim. A personal representative is designated in the decedent’s will. However, in California, the only people who are legally allowed to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased are a surviving spouse or domestic partner, surviving children, and any grandchildren. These are the only eligible parties. However, there is an exception if the decedent did not leave any of the listed surviving family behind. In this case, according to California law, “anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.” Essentially, this means anyone such as the decedent’s parents or siblings may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim on the decedent’s behalf. Additionally, anyone who significantly depended financially on the decedent can file a wrongful death claim if they can prove that financial dependency.

How long do I have to pursue legal action?

In California, according to the statute of limitations, eligible parties have two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death claim. If an eligible party does not file a claim within those two years, they will lose their right to file in the future. Therefore, they will lose their chances of recovering financial compensation for damages.

In the unfortunate event that you have lost someone you loved due to the wrongful actions of another person or entity, reach out to our skilled and determined team members who can help you recover just financial compensation for economic and non-economic damages.