Lawyer for Wrongful Death
Wrongful Death Attorney Santa Rosa CA
In California, a wrongful death claim can arise when someone dies due to a wrongful act or the negligence of another party or entity. If your loved one passed away due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, you may be able to bring about a claim for wrongful death for compensation. This type of case is a civil case, which is brought separately from any pending criminal case that may be already proceeding. The statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is generally two years, though there are exceptions, so it is important to speak with an experienced attorney right away.
Call wrongful death attorney Johann Hall today to discuss your legal options. With his experience handling wrongful death cases, attorney Johann Hall can discuss the facts of your case with you and help you recover compensation for damages.
Who is Able to File a Case for Wrongful Death in California?
A wrongful death claim can be filed in court by either the survivors of the deceased individual or the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate. In a successful wrongful death claim, the only type of recovery available is monetary damages.
Under the California Wrongful Death Statute, the deceased person’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, and surviving children may bring a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving person in the deceased’s family line as stated previously, then anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent through intestate succession can bring the claim. This category of individuals may include siblings or parents, depending on who is alive at the relevant time to bring the claim.
Additionally, if any of the following individuals can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased person, they may also be able to bring a wrongful death case in California:
· Deceased person’s stepchildren
· Deceased person’s “putative spouse” and any children of the “putative spouse”
· Deceased person’s parents
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case
In a wrongful death case in California, there are a few different forms of damages that may be awarded in a successful case. The dollar amount and precise types of damages awarded will depend on the individual facts of your case.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
There are two main types of damages you may be able to recover. The first is economic damages. This term refers to damages that are measurable financially, such as funeral and burial expenses, medical bills incurred as a result of the illness or injury that caused the wrongful death, and lost income.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify monetarily. Non-economic damages include loss of love and affection (emotional support) and loss of consortium.
Are Punitive Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case in California?
Punitive damages are exemplary damages awarded in addition to actual damages and are designed to punish and deter the wrongdoer. Under California law, punitive damages are not available in a wrongful death action. The only time they are available in a death case is through a survivor action brought on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Even then, punitive damages can only be pursued when the deceased person suffered an economic loss prior to the death. When the death was nearly immediately after the injury, this can be difficult to prove.
Due to the complex nature of wrongful death cases, especially considering the number of individuals who could potentially bring a wrongful death claim, it is important to speak with an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. Contact our office today and schedule a consultation with Johann Hall to discuss your potential claim for wrongful death.