It is difficult to lose a loved one under any circumstances. When the death is caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, California’s wrongful death laws provide a way for family members to seek justice for their loved one. A California wrongful death attorney can review your case to determine if you have a claim under the state’s wrongful death statutes. If you are interested in pursuing a wrongful death claim, it is important to know these three things about wrongful death claims in California.
Three Things You Should Know About Wrongful Death Cases in California
1. You Have a Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Case
To protect your right to hold the person or party responsible for your loved one’s death accountable, you need to talk to an attorney now. Your time to file a wrongful death claim is restricted by law. In many cases, family members have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. However, that time may be shorter or longer, depending on the circumstances surrounding your family member’s death.
For example, if a government entity was involved, you may have just six months from the date of death to file a claim. On the other hand, cases involving medical malpractice often have a three-year statute of limitations for filing wrongful death claims.
It is always best to speak to a California wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to avoid an issue with the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims.
2. A Criminal Conviction is Not Required for a Wrongful Death Claim
Even though some cases may also involve a criminal charge against the person responsible for causing your family member’s death, a criminal charge is not necessary to file a wrongful death action. A wrongful death claim is a civil action that is separate and apart from any criminal charges that might or might not be filed related to the death. Therefore, you may have a valid civil action even though the state declines to pursue any criminal charges related to the death.
3. A Survival Action May Also Be Filed
In addition to the wrongful death claim filed by family members, a separate action might be filed by your loved one’s estate seeking compensation for additional damages. A survival action is filed by a person’s estate seeking compensation for damages that the person would have been entitled to receive had the person lived. For example, a survival action may be filed to recover compensation for the medical expenses incurred in treating your loved one from the date of the injury through your loved one’s date of death.
The estate may also recover compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one endured because of the injury. In some cases, punitive damages might be awarded for certain acts that led to the person’s death.
Contact a California Wrongful Death Attorney for a Free Case Review
A monetary award is not going to ease your family’s suffering after losing a loved one. However, compensation from a wrongful death claim can provide the resources your family needs as you continue to deal with the consequences of losing a family member. A claim also forces the negligent party to take responsibility for actions that led to your family member’s death.
Contact The Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website to schedule a free consultation with one of our California wrongful death lawyers.