Compensation for Survivors of a Wrongful Death Victim
The loss of a loved one from an event other than natural causes is a deeply traumatic experience. It is natural to feel profound sadness, anxiety, and even anger – especially if the loss would not have occurred but for the negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct of an individual, business, or institution. Besides these already upsetting emotions, panic may creep in with regard to financial matters, especially if the lost loved one occupied the valuable role of a primary or co-equal income earner. While nothing can undo the trauma of losing a loved one, California’s wrongful death law does offer survivors of a wrongful death victim the opportunity to seek financial compensation from those responsible for the wrongful death and its consequences.
Types of Deaths Considered Wrongful Under California Law
The word “wrongful” speaks to both moral and legal culpability for a breach of the duty of personal liberty and bodily integrity owed between all members of society. When this duty is breached so egregiously by intentionally wrongful conduct (e.g. physical violence) or negligence (e.g. drunk driving) that a death results, the death is “wrongful” because the conduct that caused it is wrongful. Specific examples of negligent or intentionally wrongful conduct that constitute bases for wrongful death claims in California include:
- Assault and battery;
- Fatal dog attacks;
- Productive defects (e.g. automotive, industrial) that cause a fatality;
- Fatal drunk driving accidents;
- Fatal slip-and-fall accidents (premises liability);
- Child abuse or neglect;
- Medical malpractice;
- Elder abuse or neglect.
Eligible Survivors of a Wrongful Death Victim
To be eligible to bring a wrongful death for one of the above-listed instances of negligence or intentionally wrongful conduct, you must be included in the below class of survivors:
- Domestic Partners;
- Grandchildren (if your parents are also deceased);
- Other minor children (e.g. stepchildren) who were financially dependent on the wrongful death victim for at least 50% of their support;
- Anyone else who would be entitled to the wrongful death victim’s property under the state’s intestate succession laws (when someone dies without a will).
Beginning the Wrongful Death Legal Process in California
A wrongful death claim must be filed within specified window of time following a loved one’s passing. To seek compensation for the losses you have suffered as a survivor of a wrongful death victim, rely on an experienced Fremont wrongful death attorney.