When a loved one passes away as a result of the negligence of a person, company or governmental entity, you may have a right to file a lawsuit to recover damages for that loss. In California, the right to bring a wrongful death case is based on the laws of inheritance, which determine who inherits money and property from the deceased person if there is no will. Thus, for example, if a person dies leaving a spouse and children, it is the spouse and children who may file a wrongful death case. If there are no spouse or children, then generally the decedent’s parents have the right to bring the lawsuit.
Some people criticize wrongful death cases, arguing that no amount of money can bring the deceased person back. That statement is obviously true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. If the decedent was providing financial support to her family, then there is an obvious monetary component to the loss that should be compensated. A family should not end up in poverty because someone’s negligence caused its main breadwinner to be killed.
But even if we are talking about the purely emotional loss associated with the death of a loved one, there are compelling reasons why the law allows a family to recover money damages for that loss. If a company, for example, were allowed to sell a dangerous product that killed numerous users of the product, without having to fully compensate the victims’ families for their loss, there would be little incentive for that company to make the product safer.
We created this website to be a resource for families who have lost loved ones as a result of negligence. We hope to help you as you research wrongful death claims. Please take a look around, and contact us if you would like a free evaluation of your case.