What is considered wrongful death?


Wrongful death claims in California can occur in various situations, such as car accidents, medical malpractice, and other personal injury cases. However, what is considered a wrongful death is usually attributed to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party that directly lead to the premature decease of another. 

When this occurs, it is up to the deceased’s family to seek justice and compensation for their losses. If a loved one passes away due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another, contact a Wrongful Death Law Firm in Stockton, CA, to take legal action.

A wrongful death lawyer can help you prove that negligence was the direct cause of the premature departure of your loved one and hold the responsible parties liable. Here is what you should know about wrongful death in California.

California Wrongful Death Claim

Death benefit claims are legal requests made by beneficiaries or heirs to receive compensation or benefits from an insurance policy or a pension plan following the death of the policyholder or plan participant. These claims seek to provide financial support to the designated beneficiaries after the loss of the insured individual. Wrongful death claims are governed by California’s wrongful death statute (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60. et seq.). To establish a wrongful death claim in California, the following elements generally need to be proven:

Death of a Person

There must be the death of an individual, and the actions or negligence of another party must cause the death.

Negligence or Wrongful Act

The death must result from the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another person or entity. This can include car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, or intentional acts of violence.


It must be proven that the actions or negligence of the defendant were a substantial factor in causing the death.

Who Can Pursue the Claim?

In California, the deceased person’s surviving family members or beneficiaries are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. The eligible family members include:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The children of the deceased
  • A domestic partner

Suppose there are no surviving individuals in these categories. In that case, other individuals who would be entitled to the deceased person’s property under California’s intestate succession laws may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Damages Awarded in Wrongful Death Claims

The surviving family members must have suffered damages as a result of the death. Damages that can be awarded in wrongful death claims include:

  • Economic losses, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of financial support
  • Non-economic losses, such as the loss of companionship, love, and emotional support

It’s essential for surviving family members to know that if they want to pursue a wrongful death claim in California, they must do so within a specific period, known as the statute of limitations. 

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in California is generally two years from the date of the person’s death. Failing to file a claim within the statute of limitations can result in losing the right to compensation.

There are cases where the statute of limitations can be extended. To learn more about this and pursue a successful wrongful death claim, consider consulting a wrongful death lawyer in California. They can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and guide you through the legal process to seek justice and get proper compensation for your losses. 




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