There is unfathomable grief that comes with losing a loved one. Sometimes, it’s less painful if you have time to anticipate the impending loss. But what if you lose someone over unexpected circumstances?
A wrongful death is a personal injury claim allowing the decedent’s surviving family members to recover compensation for the financial losses and suffering caused by a victim’s sudden death. Under California law, the decedent’s “putative spouse” or surviving spouse, children, grandchildren and other dependents may bring forth a wrongful death action.
What can impact a wrongful death claim?
If the negligent party is entirely at fault for the accident, chances are you’ll likely receive a higher settlement. But if the deceased is partially at fault, California reduces the settlement amount based on the percentage of responsibility. Still, other factors can affect the settlement amount:
- Your relationship to the deceased: The amount increases significantly if you’re financially reliant on the deceased because they are the family’s breadwinner.
- The age and income of the deceased: If the deceased died young, the amount increases because they would have had more income opportunities if not for the accident. Conversely, the amount decreases if the deceased is in their senior years as they have lesser earning capacity.
- Medical and funeral expenses: The surviving family will incur costs for medical fees and funeral arrangements, resulting in a higher amount.
Most wrongful death cases do not require court proceedings. But if negotiations with insurance companies are too complex to resolve out of court, your case may go to trial.
Recovering from the trauma
No amount of compensation can undo the death of a loved one. But it can ease your financial burden and give you peace of mind that you fought to bring justice to your deceased family member. Having a committed legal team in this emotionally heavy battle proves invaluable.