Have you recently lost someone due to another’s negligence or harmful actions? Then you could be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This civil suit is designed to provide families and dependents with financial compensation in these types of deaths.
As a wrongful death law firm in Orange County, we know that these types of death can seriously disrupt families with financial hardships on top of the devastating emotional loss. It’s important to note that the survivors may forfeit any claim they have to compensation if they wait too long to file their claim.
This is referred to as a statute of limitations. In the state of California, survivors can wait no longer than two years to file their wrongful death claim. For this reason, it’s recommended that survivors contact an attorney as soon as possible to discover the damages that can potentially be awarded in their case.
Who Can File The Claim?
A wrongful death attorney will examine your case and determine the party or parties at fault. They can also help you determine if you are eligible to make the claim. Only certain people can make a wrongful death claim for the decedent. This includes the surviving spouse, children, domestic partner, or personal representative of the estate.
In some cases, the parents, siblings, or stepchildren could potentially be the one to file the wrongful death claim. No matter who ends up making the claim, there can only be one representative to file. Your attorney can help you decide the person that needs to file the claim in your situation.
Once you’ve determined who will file the claim and if you are eligible, your wrongful death attorney can discuss the types of damages that apply to your case. Here are the typical damages that may be assigned in a wrongful death claim and how they are determined.
Damages In A California Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In general, wrongful death damages are designed to compensate the survivors for the support, and financial assistance they would reasonably have expected to receive from the decedent had they lived. This is referred to as compensatory damages, as they are meant to compensate.
These compensatory damages include economic and non-economic damages. The court will look at either the decedent or the plaintiff’s life expectancy at the time of the negligent or harmful act. This includes looking at occupation, lifestyle, and health.
The court can award economic damages or non-economic damages. Economic damages can include the financial support the decedent would have contributed had they lived, the loss of benefits to heirs, the cost of medical expenses, the cost of burial or funeral expenses, and even the value of household services that the deceased would have provided.
Non-economic damages are a bit more difficult to measure but can still be awarded in wrongful death situations. These damages include the loss of protection, companionship, love, moral support, guidance, and affection.
Consult With A Skilled Attorney To Recover Damages In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The state of California does not have a set amount of damages that are awarded in wrongful death claims. This is because each case is unique and must be evaluated as such. To give yourself the best chance of maximum compensation you should hire a skilled lawyer that can guide you through the legal process. The best attorneys will always work in your best interest in a wrongful death claim.