Northridge Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have recently lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, you are probably dealing with grief and confusion about your legal rights and options. You may also be struggling financially because you never expected to lose your loved one so soon. A compassionate Northridge wrongful death lawyer can help guide you through this process.

You can arrange a free and confidential consultation by calling us at (602) 737-3333.

What Is a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death case is filed against someone who caused the death of another through negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Courts can award the surviving family members monetary compensation as a form of justice and accountability. If a crime caused a loved one’s death, a wrongful death claim can be filed against the wrongdoer, even if they were not convicted in criminal court, a Northridge personal injury lawyer can help you through this tough process.

What Is the Difference between a Wrongful Death Case and Survival Action?

In many situations, wrongful death cases are brought alongside survival actions, but these two legal claims have many differences, including:

Who Has Standing to Sue

Only the following individuals can bring a wrongful death case in California:

  • Surviving spouses or domestic partners
  • Children
  • Grandchildren if the decedent’s children predeceased them
  • Stepchildren and other minor children who received at least half of their financial support from the decedent
  • Individuals who would be entitled to the decedent’s property under the laws of intestate succession

Survival actions are brought on behalf of the victim’s estate by its heirs. Survival actions can only be brought if there is some period of time between the accident and the death. For example, suppose Gary’s wife, Margaret, was involved in a car accident. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and was hospitalized for two months before she passed away from her injuries. In this case, Gary might have a wrongful death claim and survival action against the party responsible for the car accident.

Recoverable Damages

The damages that can be awarded in these cases are also different. A wrongful death claim compensates surviving family members for losses such as:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of the value of household services the decedent would have provided
  • Loss of gifts or benefits the decedent would have provided
  • Pain, suffering, and disfigurement of the decedent
  • Loss of the decedent’s companionship, support, affection, and society

Punitive Damages

California’s wrongful death law does not allow surviving family members to recover punitive damages, but those bringing survival actions can be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate the plaintiff. There is an exception for wrongful death cases that are brought because the defendant killed the decedent through felony homicide and has been convicted of this crime.

What Is the Deadline to File a Wrongful Death or Survival Lawsuit?

Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Survival actions must be filed within two years of the later of the injury date or six months after death.

Schedule Your Free Case Review Today

Our Northridge wrongful death lawyer understands how to make a compelling civil claim for wrongful death. We invite you to contact the Younglove Law Firm today for your free, no-obligation consultation. You can get started by calling us at (602) 737-3333.