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Who May Qualify to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Suffering the loss of a loved one is painful, and learning that the death was the result of the negligence of another can be even more devastating. No amount of money will bring your loved one back to you. However, you may be entitled to receive compensation that helps cover the cost of medical bills and funeral expenses and that compensates you for the harms and losses you have suffered. 

Under California law, the surviving spouse or domestic partner, as well as the children or descendants of deceased children generally may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim.  In situations where the person who died is not survived by these persons, individuals who would be considered heirs through intestate succession, such as parents, stepchildren and others may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim.  

What is wrongful death? 

For a wrongful death claim to be brought, the person’s death must have been caused by the negligence of another. Whether the death resulted from a car accident, medical malpractice, or a workplace accident, if the cause of death was the wrongful act of another, the individual’s heirs may bring a claim for the damages they have sustained. 

Statute of limitations in California wrongful death claims 

In most negligence cases, a wrongful death action must be filed within two years of the date of death. However, depending on the circumstances, other limitations periods may apply.  For example, if a government entity is involved, the limitations period for bringing a claim is generally just six months.  The only way to be certain about which limitations period applies in a particular case is to consult with an attorney experienced in this area.      

The process for filing a wrongful death claim can be complicated. Let us handle the legal process while you grieve your loss. At the Law Offices of John E. Hill, we have more than 30 years of experience serving our clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. We will work with you to help you get compensation for the harms and losses you have suffered.  

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