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How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Bakersfield

For many, the sudden and untimely death of a beloved family member can be extremely difficult for the entire family. It can be devastating if the death of this family member is caused by the recklessness of a negligent party. The victim’s family often suffers from emotional trauma and mental anguish.

If your family member’s death is caused by the negligence of another party, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Taking legal action against the at-fault party can help the surviving family members fight for the justice their loved one deserves.

Although no amount of financial compensation is enough to make up for the tragic loss of a loved one, this settlement amount may help the family recover any damages that may have arisen from the death of their family member. This is especially helpful if the deceased was the sole breadwinner of their family.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • What is a wrongful death claim?
  • Who can file a wrongful death claim?
  • How to file a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield, California
  • Recoverable compensation in a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

The Legal Information Institute (LII) defines wrongful death as a “civil cause of action brought by family members and dependents against individuals who knowingly or negligently cause the death of another person.”.

As the deceased individual is incapable of fighting to recover their losses, certain family members may be able to take legal action and file a wrongful death claim in order to seek damages. The liable party may be a private individual, business, or government agency. These responsible parties may not have been acting maliciously, but their actions have led to an accident that caused a wrongful death.

Some of the most common accidents that lead to wrongful death are:

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

wrongful death claim in bakersfield

According to California Civil Code of Procedure 377.60, the following persons may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person:

The Deceased’s Surviving Spouse

If the deceased was legally married during the time of their passing, their surviving spouse or domestic partner has the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. Nevertheless, a spouse may be denied the right to file a case if the court does not deem them legally competent. The surviving spouse or domestic partner may also waive their right of priority.

The Deceased’s Surviving Child or Children

If the deceased has no surviving spouse, their surviving children may file a wrongful death lawsuit. These children include biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren. In the event that the deceased’s children are minors, a guardian will be appointed by the court to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. If the deceased’s children have also passed, the deceased’s grandchildren may file a suit.

Dependent Minors Living in the Household

Minors who lived with the deceased, for a minimum of six months, may file a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield even if they are not the deceased’s legal children. In addition, the dependent must have been reliant on the deceased for their care and relied on the deceased for at least half of their financial support.

Parents of the Deceased

Parents who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. In the case where the deceased is a minor or is unmarried with no children, the right of priority to file a claim will pass to the surviving parents.

Other Heirs

If none of the previously mentioned family members survive the deceased, those entitled to inherit from the deceased, according to California intestate succession laws, may file a claim. In order of priority, those eligible to file a wrongful death claim are parents (regardless of dependency), siblings or children of deceased siblings, grandparents, and lastly, children of a deceased spouse.

Next of Kin

When the decedent’s rightful heirs are not available, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by any of the deceased’s next of kin.

A Personal Representative of the Deceased’s Estate

A wrongful death lawsuit might have many claimants, and because of this, it could be difficult for an individual wrongful death lawyer to represent all of them without issues arising. If this situation arises, the wrongful death claimants may appoint a representative of the deceased’s estate to file a single claim on behalf of all the parties involved to simply the case. The agreed-upon settlement will be allocated in accordance with California’s wrongful death statute.

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Bakersfield, California

In order to file a successful wrongful death claim, you and your wrongful death attorney must prove that your loved one’s death was due to negligence. To prove a wrongful death has occurred, a personal injury lawyer must determine:

  • The duty of care an individual or establishment had to the deceased
  • How the individual or establishment breached this duty of care, by act or omission
  • The proximate or direct link between the breach of duty of care of the individual/establishment and the death of the deceased
  • The damages that resulted from the wrongful death of the deceased

To have a valid wrongful death claim, the claim must also be filed within the statute of limitations. California has a two-year statute of limitations for claimants to file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death claims can be taxing and complex. That is why it is in your best interest to have an experienced wrongful death attorney by your side to help you with the legal process of filing a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield, CA.

Recoverable Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim in Bakersfield

The value of a person’s life cannot be quantified in terms of money. However, monetary compensation may help the remaining family members cope with any financial damages and hardship that have arisen due to their loved one’s death.

The amount of financial compensation a claimant may recover will depend on the facts of a case. Damages from the loss of a loved one are divided into two categories, economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are quantifiable damages, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Burial expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income and future earnings
  • Investments and other financial support
  • Benefits the claimant may have expected to receive from the deceased (ex. child support payments, etc.)
  • Punitive damages (for certain cases)

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, may not be as easy to calculate as economic damages. These damages deal with the emotional and mental aspects of losing a loved one. These damages include:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of guidance
  • Loss of consortium (loss of enjoyment from sexual intimacy)
  • Pain and suffering

Hire an Award-Winning Personal Injury Attorney

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of a guilty party, you may be eligible to file a Bakersfield wrongful death lawsuit and recover adequate compensation for their injuries and damages. Hiring an experienced lawyer is your best course of action should you choose to file a claim.

At Ayuda California, we understand the difficulty you are going through. Our mission is to ensure that you receive the justice, legal services, and fair compensation you deserve. While you and your family focus on healing, our dedicated team will handle the settlement agreement and all other legal aspects for you.

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t need to pay a single cent unless we win your case. Contact us at (844) 865-0721 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are available 24/7!

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