A wrongful death suit can be very disruptive to a grieving family or spouse. These tragic cases carry are emotionally taxing, very complex, and often come at the end of a long process of mourning. Knowing the nature of the charge itself is a good first step. If you are filing a wrongful death case, having informed legal advice is essential.
These charges are often the result of a vehicular accidents and medical malpractice issues. Even if the inciting incident was an accident, and there was no malicious intent, legal liability is still an issue for the defendant, and you can be awarded hefty punitive damages should the courts find the case in your favor helping to get you through this difficult time.
The wrongful death laws in California are very specific. Please remember what follows is not meant to be legal advice but a general breakdown of the laws on record in the state. Under the California Code, wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence or wrongful actions of another individual or organization. If you want more actionable information, please contact a lawyer with experience in wrongful death cases.
In California, a person can bring forth a wrongful death case if they are the heir of the deceased victim. These Individuals can sue for compensation from the accused defendant, arguing that they have suffered a loss in the form of monetary damages. These people include the surviving spouse of the deceased and their children in most cases.
For a wrongful death case to move forward the victim’s death must be proven to have been the result of the negligence or wrongful acts of the defendant. These circumstances can include medical malpractice cases in which the victim’s chances of survival were 51% or more prior to the actions of the accused. If the chances were less than 50%, then a wrongful death suit may not be applicable.
Under California law, the death of a fetus does not qualify as an actionable wrongful death claim. A death that is the result of a justifiable homicide does not qualify under California law as a potential wrongful death case. If someone is killed while committing a felony, the law prevents the family from bringing a wrongful death case to the court. If a person commits suicide under the care of a responsible party charged with their safety, the responsible party can face a wrongful death suit if the negligence or actions of that accused party facilitated to the suicide.
For several people to file a wrongful death case involving a single defendant, they must all be a party to the same case. This rule is a part of the “one action rule” where more than one claim cannot be leveled against a single responsible party. Consequently, if you are not involved in a case that is ongoing, you may be barred from being named as a plaintiff.
Under California law, there are three basic statutes of limitation, or deadlines, which affect a wrongful death lawsuit those plaintiffs, should be aware of before proceeding. The first and most common statute of limitations is three years from the incident. If the case centers on a health care provider’s negligence, as in a medical malpractice suit, you have three years from the date of your injury or one year after you have discovered you have been injured, whichever comes first. These limitations are just a few reasons why having an experienced legal team behind you can help navigate the nuanced rules surrounding a wrongful death case.
Bringing forth a wrongful death charge can be unsettling, but having the support of an experienced legal team can help you reach the best possible outcome. Let our experienced team get you through this difficult situation.
Call us at 916-303-2800 or contact us online for the help you deserve.