Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Wrongful death is the legal term used to describe any situation in which the negligence, carelessness, or wrongful act of another causes preventable death. One of the most difficult experiences life has to offer, losing a loved one can be made even more difficult when the death could have easily been prevented. If you have recently lost a loved one as the result of another's actions, you may have a right to file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death claims are civil actions – lawsuits – that can hold wrongdoers accountable for causing death and liable for the damages victims suffer. In these cases, "victims" generally refers to family members of a decedent and those who were dependent on a decedent. According to California's Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 – 377.62, only certain individuals will be permitted to file a wrongful death claim. These parties may include:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • Putative spouse or children of putative spouse
  • Stepchildren
  • Parents

In certain situations, it may be required for these family members to prove that they were dependent on the decedent. Whoever is eligible to file a wrongful death claim will have the opportunity to prove that another's neglect or wrongful act more likely than not caused a victim's death. Proving fault is essential to establishing liability. Compensation may then be awarded depending on the facts and damages inherent to the case. These damages may include the pain and suffering of the decedent, funeral expenses, and a family's loss of financial support, among others.

At Santa Barbara Injury Law Group, we understand that wrongful death cases can be overwhelming personal and legal journeys for clients. This is precisely why we provide our compassionate support and our aggressive representation to family's looking to obtain the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve. By speaking with a Santa Barbara wrongful death lawyer from our firm, you can learn more about your case, whether or not you are eligible to file a claim, and how our legal team can help. Request your free consultation by calling (805) 793-0227.