Essential Basics In Wrongful Death Litigation

Sometimes in personal injury cases, the victim has already lost the ability of filing a lawsuit for himself. This situation happens if the victim was still unconscious, succumbed to a long-term coma, totally paralyzed and worst case is if he was already dead.

If the victim died because of an accident caused by another person or entity's negligence and/or wrongful act, then the personal representatives of the victim's estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party.

People who can file a wrongful death lawsuit

The following persons or personal representatives of the victim acting on their behalf can assert a cause of action for the victim's death that was caused by a negligent and/or wrongful act:

Group A

- Surviving spouse or domestic partner

- Children

- Offspring of children who are already deceased

- In case the victim has no surviving children, persons including surviving spouse or domestic partner entitled with
the victim's property through intestate succession

Group B

Whether they are qualified or not in the Group A, if they had been dependents of the victim, they may also sue for the victim's wrongful death.

- Putative spouse or the surviving spouse from a void or can be considered void marriage if the court found that he or she believed in good faith that the marriage with the victim was legitimate or valid.

- Children by the putative spouse

- Parents

- Stepchildren

Group C

-A minor who has resided with the victim's household during the previous 180 days at the time of the victim's death and the victim's dependent for a half or more of his/her support.

Many people may become qualified to sue for the victim's premature death.

State of California's statute of limitations in filing a wrongful death lawsuit:

Currently, the state of California's Statute of Limitations for suing on account of a wrongful death case is two years starting from the date of the accident or the incident that caused the wrongful death.

Failure to file a lawsuit for wrongful death within the two-year period means that the qualified persons lost or waived their right to sue.

Damages for wrongful death or the compensation entitled to those who have sued for the victim's wrongful death.

• Financial Support – the monetary support, if any, that the wrongful death victim would have provided for the surviving family or dependents, either for the duration of the victim's life expectancy before the sudden death occurred or the life expectancy of the plaintiff, whichever among the calculations would be shorter.

• Expenses for the victim's funeral and burial services – total cost

• Loss of gifts and benefits – the gifts or benefits that the wrongful death victim was expected to provide to the person suing

• "Reasonable value of household services" that the victim was expected to provide

• Loss of love, affection, comfort, care, society, companionship, protection, assistance, moral support the victim was expected to provide

• "Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations with the victim"

• Loss of guidance and / or training that only the victim could provide

• Punitive damages – considered as punishment damages that can be awarded to the wrongful death victim's personal estate as an action of the estate's representative according to the "cause of action" that the victim would have received had he/she survived.

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