Perhaps it was a drunk driver, or maybe it was a local business with defective electrical work that caused a fire. When a person or business is directly responsible for the death of your loved one, you may be able to hold them accountable in civil court.
Even if the California criminal courts don’t pursue charges, there could be enough evidence of a negligence or a wrongful act for you to win in civil court. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you establish a connection between your recent loss and the behavior of or failure to act by another party.
You also have to claim specific losses so that the court can award you damages. What do you have the right to claim in a wrongful death lawsuit in California?
Repayment for medical and funeral costs
Situations that kill people don’t always result in an instant fatality. Your loved one may have suffered in the hospital for days or longer. The result could be thousands of dollars of medical expenses, in addition to the cost for a memorial service, casket and burial plot. You can seek compensation for medical and funeral costs.
The impact of the loss on your family
California law also allows you to seek compensation for the loss of financial support, which will include wages your loved one will now never earn. You can also seek compensation for loss of companionship and affection. While these are more intangible losses, that does not make them less valuable than damages with a price tag attached.
Knowing what kind of compensation you can seek will make it easier for you to take the first steps toward filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a tragic loss in California.