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Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

June 3, 2022

At Nunes Law, our Fresno personal injury lawyers represent family members throughout California who have lost their loved ones to negligence in wrongful death cases.

Wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits where our attorneys must prove the responsible party’s liability by a preponderance of the evidence to secure the necessary damages. Simply put, we must prove that it was more likely than not that the negligent party was responsible for our client’s loved one’s death.

When someone loses a loved one in a vehicle collision caused by a drunk driver, or a pedestrian accident caused by a distracted driver, their loss often results in significant financial damages.

If you believe your loved one’s death was the result of negligence and would like to learn whether you are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim in California, we can help.

Here is what you need to know.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

According to California’s wrongful death statute, only eligible family members can file a wrongful death claim in civil court.

Eligible family members include:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Surviving children

If the previous relatives do not exist, the secondary eligible relatives include those who would be entitled to the decedent’s property by intestate succession, including:

  • Siblings
  • Parents

The third level of relatives who may be potentially eligible to file a wrongful death in California are those who were financially dependent on the deceased individual.

That may include:

  • A putative spouse
  • Children of the putative spouse
  • Stepchildren
  • Legal guardians

If you believe you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in California, we would like to discuss your claim during a free consultation, so you can have all the facts upfront.

What Types of Financial Compensation Can Eligible Family Members Pursue During California Wrongful Death Claims?

All wrongful death claims are unique to both the individual who lost his or her life, and those who counted on them for financial support.

In California, wrongful death claims may allow the eligible family member(s) to pursue both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages may include:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
  • Financial support the decedent would have contributed to the family.
  • Loss of benefits the family would have expected to receive from the decedent.
  • Reasonable economic value of household services the decedent would have provided.

Non-economic damages might include:

  • Loss of guidance.
  • Loss of intimacy.
  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, protection, society, and moral support.

If you have lost a loved one to negligence in California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of his or her death. At Nunes Law, we understand this is an exceedingly challenging time for your family. However, the sooner you can contact our skilled Fresno wrongful death attorney, the quicker we can begin preserving crucial evidence that will allow us to help build your case. Contact us today to learn more.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Fresno, California for a Free Consultation

If you lost a loved one to negligence, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys in Fresno at Nunes Law today by calling 559-436-0850 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options to hold the liable party accountable for your complete financial recovery.

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