What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If your loved one has died due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, you may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the losses sustained by the survivors. These losses can include the financial contributions of the deceased, funeral expenses, and loss of companionship. The compassionate attorneys at Cutter Law have experience with many types of wrongful death lawsuits.
Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are different kinds of wrongful death lawsuits that can be filed. Essentially, if an individual dies because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another individual or entity, a wrongful death suit can be filed. Reasons for filing a wrongful death lawsuit can include:
- Car accident
- Truck accident
- Boat accident
- Nursing home negligence
- Other injury cases, such as a slip and fall
If you have lost a loved one because of the negligence of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation.
Wrongful Death Liability
If the death of an individual is caused by someone else, the law recognizes that the person who caused the death should be held responsible.
There are legal remedies under civil law that address when someone’s negligence or carelessness causes another’s death. Individuals may be held liable for wrongful death cases that involve:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
There are several factors that may enable one to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have any questions about whether you have grounds to file, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Cutter Law P.C.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Under California’s wrongful death statute, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court:
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse or partner
- The decedent’s surviving children
- Grandchildren of any deceased child of the decedent
If no one qualifies in these categories, then anyone who would be entitled to the property of the deceased individual can file a suit. This might include the parents or siblings of the deceased person.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
According to the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, damages for a wrongful death lawsuit fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages can include:
- Financial support the decedent would have provided
- Loss of benefits the families would have expected to receive
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Household service the decedent might have provided
Non-economic damages can include:
- Loss of love or companionship from the decedent
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance or wisdom
Under California law, there is no cap on potential damages in a wrongful death lawsuit except in cases of medical malpractice, which cap non-economic damages to $250,000. The wrongful death lawyers at Cutter Law can help you understand and apply the law to your case.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Suits in California
As with any lawsuit, there is a limited amount of time an individual or group of individuals has to file a civil lawsuit. Under California law, the statute of limitations varies from two to three years for wrongful death cases. However, in most wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is two years. If the case is not filed within that period, the family is likely to lose the right to file any wrongful death claims.
There are a few exceptions that may extend the time to file a claim, such as special circumstances that prevent family members from knowing that their loved one’s death was caused by negligence or a wrongful action.
Nonetheless, it is highly recommended not to rely on exceptions that extend the filing time limit because you may lose your chance to file and recover compensation. The knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers at Cutter Law will take care of all the necessary paperwork and ensure that you file your case within the statute of limitations.
How does a wrongful death lawsuit work?
In any civil injury or wrongful death lawsuit, there is a burden of proof that falls on the plaintiff. In a wrongful death suit, the proofs required include:
- A loved one has died
- The death was caused by another person’s negligence or harmful intent
- You or other family members have suffered financially as a result of the death
Consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you understand the merits and value of your case. They can also answer questions about any other specific issues with your lawsuit.
Cutter Law Can Help
With more than 40 years of combined experience, Cutter Law has the expertise to help you file your wrongful death suit. We can help you file all necessary paperwork, determine reasonable compensation, and gather evidence for the lawsuit while you grieve for your loss.
Clients love that we are family-owned and operated, providing us with the opportunity to give one-on-one, expert attention to each case. We pride ourselves on being accessible and transparent throughout the difficult legal process, and we are passionate about achieving justice for those suffering injuries or devastating losses. We are proud of our case results, and our client testimonials speak to our commitment and dedication.
For your convenience, we have offices in Sacramento, Oakland, and Santa Rosa. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we are only paid if you obtain financial damages—we never charge upfront fees. Call us today or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.
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