It’s hard to lose someone you love. You’re left heartbroken and devastated. Death is never easy, no matter the circumstances. But losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence is one of the more challenging circumstances because it may have been a preventable death. California law allows family members to get justice for the deaths of their loved ones by bringing a wrongful death claim.
We know no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back. But you can get compensation from the negligent party responsible. But how much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth in CA? It is difficult to determine your case’s value without knowing its facts and circumstances, but below we have provided some information about wrongful death lawsuits to help you get a better picture.
At Frederick Law Firm, we offer a free case evaluation where we can examine the facts of your case and give you a better picture of the value of your case.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim. It gives the deceased victim’s loved ones the right to sue the negligent party for compensation. According to the CDC, 224,935 people died in 2021 from unintentional injury deaths, which is the fourth highest cause of death.
A wrongful death claim is distinct from a survival action claim because it does not give the deceased victim’s family the right to recover damages the deceased victim would have been able to recover.
How Much Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in California?
Every wrongful death case has its own set of facts. No two are alike. So, it’s hard to quantify California’s average wrongful death settlement. Some may be for several million dollars, while others can be significantly less. One of our wrongful death and injury settlements was $49 million at Frederick Law. But that result shouldn’t be expected for your case. It all depends on the facts.
You may be wondering, what affects the average wrongful death settlement in CA? A wrongful death settlement will be affected by certain factors. The following circumstances can increase your wrongful death settlement:
- The decedent was young;
- The decedent had young dependents when they died; and
- The decedent supported their family with their income.
Conversely, other factors may decrease the wrongful death settlement amount. For example, if a decedent was retired or was not contributing income to their family, the settlement for them would be less. Similarly, if a victim had a couple of close relatives, the wrongful death settlement may not be as large as a deceased victim with a large family.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are reserved for the individuals most affected by the death of the deceased. Those most affected usually include close family members such as the surviving spouse and children. California law outlines who can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party.
Spouse or Domestic Partner
The surviving spouse or domestic partner can file a wrongful death claim for the death of their spouse or partner. For marriages, the surviving spouse and decedent must have been legally married at the time of the decedent’s death. Domestic partners must have been registered under California laws. Putative spouses may also be able to claim compensation.
Next, the decedent’s children can file a wrongful death claim for their deceased parent. If the decedent’s children are no longer alive, their children (the decedent’s grandchildren) may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. Stepchildren and children of a putative spouse may also be included. Other minor children can also seek compensation if they lived in the decedent’s household for a minimum of six months, were financially dependent on the deceased for care, and received a minimum of half of their support.
The decedent’s parents may also bring a wrongful death claim for their deceased child. If the parents are deceased, the decedent’s legal guardians can bring the lawsuit against the negligent party.
Other Family Members
If none of the above family members are alive, individuals who can inherit the decedent’s estate according to intestate succession can file a wrongful death claim.
What Are Examples of Available Damages for Wrongful Death Claims?
Possible available damages for a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Funeral expenses,
- Burial expenses,
- Loss of companionship,
- Loss of consortium,
- Loss of parental guidance,
- Loss of the decedent’s financial support, and
- Loss of the decedent’s household assistance.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you calculate these damages by examining the evidence of your case. Then, they can give you an estimated value for your wrongful death claim.
What Is the Deadline to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
A statute of limitations is the deadline you have to file a lawsuit. In California, you have two years to bring a wrongful death claim. If you do not bring your claim by the end of this time period, you can lose your right to pursue financial compensation after the death of your loved one. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Always talk to a wrongful death attorney who can examine the facts of your case and provide guidance as to all relevant legal deadlines.
Contact Frederick Law Firm and Speak to a Wrongful Death Attorney
Our hearts go out to you and your family. We know this is a difficult situation. If someone else’s negligence caused the death of a loved one, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. At Frederick Law Firm, we have over 45 years of experience advocating for the rights of personal injury victims and their families. Our attorneys have been recognized for various awards, including Lawyers of Distinction 2023, National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40, and Super Lawyers. We will stand by your side throughout the lawsuit, even if we must go to trial. Ask about our reputation and record of success. Our clients remain our top priority. With us, you’ll be treated like family. Contact us now for a free consultation.