Wrongful Death – California Lawsuits
Families who suffer the wrongful death of a loved one are entitled to bring suit in California civil court to recover damages – both economic and non-economic – if the death was caused by harm intentionally inflicted by another or if it was the result of unintentional negligence, such as a car accident, defective product, or medical error.
Although it is a sad and stressful time for families dealing with their loss, the short, two-year California statute of limitations in civil suits makes it critical to file a wrongful death claim as soon as possible. While you sort through the range of emotions concerning your lost loved one, an experienced personal injury attorney can handle the details of the claim for you and help make sure that your interests are protected.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Under California law spouses, domestic partners, children, or children of the children of the deceased may sue for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages in wrongful death lawsuits include the loss of the deceased’s income over what would have been his or her normal life expectancy or that of the plaintiff, whichever is shorter. Life expectancy is determined by a number of factors including overall health, lifestyle habits, occupation, and so forth.
Additional economic damages include the monetary value of gifts or other benefits that family members may have expected to receive from the deceased , funeral and burial expenses, and the value of household services – cooking, housekeeping, and child care, for example, if the individual did not work outside the home.
Non-economic damages in wrongful death suits include the love, affection, moral support, protection, and companionship that the deceased would have provided had he or she lived. Non-economic damages are especially important if the deceased was not a financial contributor to the family such as a child, grandparent, or spouse who does not work outside the home. How non-economic damages are awarded depends on the jury, which is generally instructed by the judge to determine a reasonable amount based on the evidence presented in the case.
There are damages that cannot be considered in wrongful death lawsuits. Grief, sorrow, or mental anguish of the surviving family members or any pain and suffering that the deceased person may have experienced prior to death are not considered among non-economic damages.
Rely on Experienced Courtroom Attorneys and Compassionate Legal Counsel
In wrongful death situations, emotions can run high. Personal injury attorneys Barr and Mudford can help lift some of the burden from your shoulders and help make sure that the best interests of you and your family are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call (530) 243-8008 or (800) 528-2020. You can also reach us by email. We’ll get back to you right away to discuss your case.