Losing a loved one is always painful—but if you lost your loved one because another person caused their death, it may be even more so. If someone’s negligent actions or malice killed your family member, you may be able to find some comfort and justice by pursuing a wrongful death action against them.
A wrongful death lawsuit can help ease both the emotional burden and the financial burden of a loved one’s death. If you believe you may have a legal case for a wrongful death claim in San Diego, the team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC is here to help. Our San Diego wrongful death lawyers may be able to help you receive financial compensation for your loved one’s death. Contact us today at (800)-593-3443 for a free consultation about your wrongful death case.
Qualifications for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The California statute on wrongful death, California Civil Code (CIV) §337.60, defines this term as “a cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” It is important to note that a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal one, even if the act that caused the death was malicious. Wrongful death cases are not criminal prosecutions, but you can sue a criminal assailant for compensation.
Many wrongful death cases are the result of negligence rather than malice. Negligence is when a person fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm from happening to another person. The American Bar Association (ABA) confirms that “their liability stems from careless or thoughtless conduct or a failure to act when a reasonable person would have acted.”
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to force the defendant (the person you bring the case against) to provide financial compensation to the plaintiff (you, or the surviving heir of the deceased person). This is different from a criminal proceeding, where the objective is social punishment and justice.
Some reasons that you could bring a wrongful death lawsuit include the following acts if they caused the death of your loved one:
- Murder or manslaughter
- Assault and/or battery
- Car accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Improper use of chemicals
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Animal attacks
- Defective products
- Elder abuse or neglect
- Child abuse or neglect
- Medical malpractice
To pursue a wrongful death lawsuit successfully, your situation must fit at least three parameters:
- A person died.
- Their death was caused by someone else, either through negligence or intent to harm. Their intent to harm does not have to be intent to kill.
- The surviving heirs or family members of the deceased person suffered a financial burden because of the death.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving San Diego, call 800-593-3443
Family Members Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim
To pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for your loved one who died, you must be directly related to them and suffer from a financial loss because of their death. California’s wrongful death statute explains that the following people have the right to make a wrongful death claim:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving domestic partner
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving grandchildren, if their parents (the decedent’s children) are deceased
If none of the direct heirs on the above list are alive, then other heirs or people who would be entitled to the property of the deceased person may bring a wrongful death lawsuit instead. These other heirs include:
- Legal guardians
- Other people who were dependent on the decedent, such as a former spouse
If you are not sure whether you have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, a San Diego wrongful death lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help explain your legal options. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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California’s Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
You should waste no time in pursuing compensation for your loved one’s death because these types of lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations, which is a time limit on your legal rights. A wrongful death lawsuit falls under the same statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in California, CIV §335.1, which gives you two years from the date of the death to take legal action.
Types of Damages for a Wrongful Death Claim
How much and what categories of financial compensation you may be able to recover for your loved one’s death will depend on your unique situation. In most cases, however, you can sue for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the direct expenses and loss of financial support caused by the wrongful death. These may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses of the deceased that were caused by their injury
- Loss of income the deceased would have earned and provided to their family
- Loss of household services the deceased would have provided to their family
- Loss of benefits the deceased would have provided to their family
Non-economic damages you may be able to recover for your loved one’s death include the loss of:
- Sexual relations
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Reach Out to Ben Crump Law, PLLC for Help
The team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC is devoted to helping victims of injustice receive the compensation they deserve. Whether your loved one’s death was caused by carelessness or malicious intent, you should not have to suffer further from the financial burden of their loss.
Our San Diego wrongful death lawyers can help you by investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death, gathering evidence of the negligence or harmful intent that caused it, and pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. We can also help you calculate all the damages you may be able to recover and aggressively negotiate for a full and fair settlement for your losses.
Because Ben Crump Law, PLLC works on a contingency basis, you will never owe us anything unless we can recover compensation for you. Contact us today at (800)-593-3443 for a free case evaluation.