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Your Rights as a survivor of a loved one’s wrongful death

Your Rights as a Survivor of a Loved One’s Wrongful Death

The sudden decease of a loved one is a painful event that can wreak havoc on those who were close to the deceased. When an unexpected decease occurs, the emotional shock and grief of the news can be heartbreaking. 

Dealing with death is a difficult process, especially if it occurred due to the negligent acts of another person. When a wrongful death occurs, the survivor is in a state of shock or even denial. They most likely will not know what to do to honor and seek justice for the life of their loved one. 

In this article, we will talk about how surviving family members can cope with wrongful death and what options are available to claim justice and compensation. 

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a legal term used when a person is killed as a result of someone else’s negligent acts or misconduct. Wrongful death can occur through car accidents, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, dog bite accidents, medical malpractice, and other accidents which are often the basis for lawsuits.

Wrongful death cases generally involve financial compensation for any monetary losses caused by the death, as well as non-economic damages. In some cases, a wrongful death may result in the responsible party being charged with criminal manslaughter or murder charges.

If you suspect that the death of a loved one was due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, you should seek legal counsel. An experienced wrongful death attorney can advise you of your rights as a surviving family member.

Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions – What’s the Difference?

If your beloved has sadly passed away, you may have heard of a survival action claim and questioned how it differs from the wrongful death claim to which you’re entitled. There are quite a few contrasts between these two types of claims that set them apart.

A survival action seeks to progress a legal claim that existed prior to the deceased’s passing. For instance, if someone was in court proceedings due to an injury they incurred from slipping on a wet floor at a store yet died before their case could be resolved, then their survivors would have the right to further pursue and receive damages for lost wages and medical expenses associated with this slip-and-fall incident.

The wrongful death claim, on the other hand, focuses on damages incurred because of wrongful death. It compensates the survivors for their pain and suffering as well as lost wages due to the deceased’s passing. It also covers medical costs associated with the death itself, such as funeral expenses.

survivor of a loved one’s wrongful death

What Are Your Rights As A Surviving Family Member?

As a family survivor of a loved one’s wrongful death victim, compensation for wrongful death, you have certain rights. These rights include:

  • The right to file a claim against the responsible parties.
  • The right to receive financial compensation for any monetary losses caused by the death such as medical bills and lost wages.
  • The right to be compensated for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
  • The right to seek punitive damages from the person responsible for your loved one’s death.
  • The right to seek justice through a criminal prosecution against the at-fault party. 

Is There a Deadline For Filing Wrongful Death?

Filing a claim is essential, and failing to do so before the deadline could prevent you from seeking justice. Typically, two years after your loved one’s passing is when this window closes. 

However, special conditions may still exist depending on factors such as if their demise was attributed to government negligence or not. In these cases, it can be narrowed down even further — only one year remains for you to take legal action against the liable entity once notice of said intention has been served within 180 days post-death.

Additionally, the so-called “discovery rule” can have an influence on when you need to file a claim. Suppose you didn’t realize that it was possible for filing a lawsuit until after your loved one passed away. If this is the situation, then the two-year period does not start ticking until such time as you know or should be aware that there may be grounds for legal action.

While you may feel anxious about how a criminal case associated with the death of your relative might affect the timeline for filing a civil claim, rest assured that these two are unrelated. Furthermore, even if the former has been unsuccessful, it does not bar you from submitting an application for civil reparations.

Who Can Claim Damages for Wrongful Death?

The Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 in California registers the following persons as being capable of filing compensation for wrongful death:

  • The decedent’s spouse
  • The decedent’s domestic partner
  • The decedent’s children
  • The decedent’s stepchildren
  • The decedent’s parents

In addition, if the decedent was not married and did not have any children, then the decedent’s siblings, grandparents, or other close relatives may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.

By filing a wrongful death claim, the victim’s family member can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Some of them include: 

  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of companionship 
  • Loss of consortium
  • Medical expenses

While financial compensation will not make up for the pain and suffering of losing a loved one, this money can help you with funeral costs and other important expenses that affect your life after the catastrophic and painful event. 

If a loved one has died from the negligent acts of another person, you need to hire an experienced and empathetic lawyer who can provide legal advice and representation. 

Ayuda California By Your Side

In these difficult and painful times, what you need is to fully understand your rights as a survivor of a loved one’s wrongful death and get the necessary support of reliable people. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys can help support you in and out of the courtroom. 

As experts in seeking fair compensation, we understand how harrowing this experience can be. We feel your pain and we try to be a stepping stone of strength to help you through this difficult time. 

It is important to know your rights as the survivor of a loved one’s wrongful death. This is why at Ayuda California we are here for you 24/7. We value your trust and faith in our services, and we will do everything in our power to get you the justice and compensation that you deserve. 
Call us now for a free initial consultation.

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