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Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Information for Surviving Family Members of a Fatal Car Accident

Every state has its own laws regarding how wrongful death claims are to be handled. In California, a wrongful death claim can be filed when a person dies due to the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity. If you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you would be able to bring a wrongful death claim to court, depending on your relationship to the decedent. It is also important to be aware of the statute of limitations in your case, which is also known as the time period within which you must file your claim. Missing this important deadline could forever bar you from bringing your case to court in the future.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

As previously mentioned, not everyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. Eligible surviving family members include:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The surviving domestic partner
  • Any surviving children
  • If the decedent does not have any surviving family members, it is possible for a wrongful death lawsuit to be brought by anyone who might be entitled to the property of the decedent, including his or her parents or siblings.

Additionally, if it can be proven that they are financially independent on the decedent, the following individuals can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California:

  • The putative spouse or children of the putative spouse
  • Any surviving stepchildren

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Numerous damages are available in a wrongful death claim in California, though the specific amount will depend on the details of each specific case. Generally, damages are also divided to compensate the estate for losses associated with the death or to compensate surviving family members for personal losses suffered as a result of the death. Losses attributed to the estate can include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical and hospital bills for the decedent’s final expenses
  • Loss of income, including income the decedent would have expected to earn, were it not for his or her untimely death

Losses that are usually attributed to the surviving family members include:

  • Household services
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of love, attention, affection, moral support, and guidance

Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If your loved one died in a motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations to bring your claim to court in California would be two years, beginning on the date of your loved one’s death. If your case is not filed within two years, you will lose your chance to recover any damages.

Wrongful Death Attorney in Sacramento

If you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you are undoubtedly going through a difficult time trying to cope with the trauma of this incident. However, it is crucial that you take legal action as soon as possible to ensure you and your family are able to recover damages. At Eliot Reiner APLC, our legal team is backed by the necessary experience and proven track record of results you need to achieve the most favorable outcome for your case.

To get started on filing your wrongful death lawsuit, reach out to our law firm today at (916) 778-3228 to request your free initial case evaluation.

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