Call Us Today for Legal Advice in WRONGFUL DEATH, CIVIL RIGHTS, POLICE/JAIL MISCONDUCT and SEVERE INJURY.

JAIL SUICIDE AND DEATH: Haddad and Sherwin is currently representing families of people suffering WRONGFUL DEATH in jail. Click here...

POLICE SHOOTING / WRONGFUL DEATH: Haddad and Sherwin is currently reviewing and investigating POLICE SHOOTINGS and WRONGFUL DEATH cases. Click here...

WINNING MAJOR REFORMS: Improving training and policies to prevent future violations. Click here...

California Wrongful Death Law – Top things you should know

This content about wrongful death lawyers was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

The law governing wrongful death in the State of California is outlined in the Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Wrongful death law provides specific information on who has standing to file wrongful death claims and the types of damages or compensation that may be claimed.

Who is liable and who can sue according to California Wrongful Death Law?

Wrongful death law may vary from state to state regarding who is allowed to file this type of lawsuit. In California, the deceased’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, or other minor children who depended on the deceased for half or more of their financial support can sue for wrongful death. If the decedent’s spouse or children are also deceased, grandchildren can also file a claim and anyone else who under California intestate succession laws would be entitled to the decedent’s property, such as surviving siblings or parents.

Wrongful acts can arise out of many circumstances, such as medical malpractice or car accidents. No matter the circumstance, to determine the liability of the party, the wrongful death law requires that the plaintiff prove that the defendant (more likely than not) caused the wrongful death by negligence or intentional harm and that as a result, surviving family members are suffering monetary losses.

What damages can be recovered?

The damages available in these types of lawsuits aim to compensate the heirs for economic and non-economic losses that they would not have experienced if the decedent had lived. The period for which damages are recoverable is determined by the life expectancy of the decedent at the time of the wrongful death or the plaintiff’s life expectancy at the time of the wrongful death, whichever is shorter.

Economic damages represent quantifiable losses as a result of the wrongful death. They include the following:

  • The financial support the heirs would have received from the decedent
  • Loss of household services
  • Expenses related to the decedent’s funeral or burial
  • Loss of gifts or benefits the heirs would have received from the decedent

Non-Economic damages represent intangible losses and are also called general damages. These include:

  • Loss of companionship, affection, protection, comfort, moral support
  • Loss of intimate relations
  • Loss of guidance and training

It is important to note that the California wrongful death law does not grant punitive damages. To pursue punitive damages from the liable party for wrongful death, a survival cause of action would have to be filed. Both wrongful death and survival actions can be pursued together if they result from the same wrongful act.

Getting legal help for your wrongful death claim

It is an emotionally challenging ordeal to lose a loved one due to a wrongful act. It is understandable why surviving family members would want legal justice after having had time to grieve. The most important thing in these cases is to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who can assess your case and determine whether you have a valid claim against the responsible party according to wrongful death law.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about wrongful death lawyers was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.