Wrongful Death

California Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In California, if someone intentionally or accidentally causes the death of one of your family members, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the family members of the deceased for the hardship and loss they endure because of the death.

What Constitutes Wrongful Death in California?

California wrongful death occurs when one person’s misconduct causes the death of another person. Wrongful death cases usually arise out of the following scenarios:

  • medical malpractice
  • intentional acts
  • negligent conduct like being involved in a motor vehicle accident, or dying on property that is dangerous
  • product defects

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

California is a generous state that allows many different people the ability to bring a wrongful death lawsuit including:

The Immediate Family of the Decedent
  • spouse or domestic partner
  • children
  • if the child of the decedent also is dead, then the grandchild may bring suit as well
People Entitled to Property Through Inheritance

If the decedent left behind no immediate family members, then the group of individuals next in line to bring a wrongful death lawsuit would be those entitled to property via intestate succession. This basically means, if the person died without a will, this group of individuals would have a right to the decedent’s property through inheritance. This group is usually made up of the decedent’s parents and siblings.

Decedent’s Financial Dependents

Relatives, legal guardians and others may have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California if they can show when the decedent was still alive, they were financially dependent on them. This group usually includes, but is not limited to: legal guardians, parents, and step-children.

Does My Right to Sue for Wrongful Death Expire?

California implements a statute of limitations on wrongful death cases. This means there is a deadline to file the case, and if you don’t file within the time-frame, you will give up your right to bring the lawsuit (certain exceptions apply). The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in California is two years from the day the decedent passed away. Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. 335.1

Compensation Awarded in a California Wrongful Death Case

Losing a family member or loved one can cause extreme hardship to your family, which would result in emotional and financial harm. If you successfully file a wrongful death case in California, you are avenues of relief are usually in the form of economic and non-economic damages.  

Economic damages are intended to make you whole for things like:

  • funeral and burial service costs
  • gifts or benefits you would have received from the decedent
  • financial loss you may have suffered as a result of your loved one’s death, etc.

Non-economic damages are intended to make you whole for emotional damages and harm that is intangible, caused by the death of your loved one. Non-economic damages include, but are not limited to:

  • loss of companionship, affection, care, love, help, protection, guidance
  • loss of intimacy
  • the suffering your loved one would have experienced before dying.

No Fee Guarantee Unless We Win!

Our Wrongful Death Attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you get paid! In California, there are time limits on filing a wrongful death claim, therefore, it is crucial to speak with a Wrongful Death Attorney as soon as possible. Our Wrongful Death Attorneys are committed to you and your loved ones in assisting you throughout what could be one of the most delicate matters in your life. 


About Ally Law Group

Our Law Firm is driven by a diverse clientele that requires us to think outside of the box. Each case has different factual circumstances, so each case will be different. Our attorneys find it exciting to develop strategic plans with our clients, showing them that they do have a chance at achieving their goals no matter what type of case they have.

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