Wrongful death actions in California differ from many other states, as both the estate of the decedent and the surviving family members can sue for damages when gross negligence can be proven. The wrongful death claim standing is assigned to the family members, and the awards are specifically intended as financial recovery for them. It is separate from the survival action suit that can be filed by the estate of the decedent. In addition, a loss of consortium claim could also be available for a “putative” spouse and any children that may be the result of that relationship. These can all be complicated and strongly defended legal matters, and it is vital to have an experienced Sacramento CA law firm like The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC representing the claim.
The primary claim in many cases will be a personal injury case seeking compensatory and possible punitive damages for the estate of the deceased. The Travis G. Black wrongful death attorneys in Sacramento understand that the wrongful death claim for the family hinges on the outcome of the personal injury case and any punitive damage award from the survival action component. Personal injury claims include standard recovery for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and general damages for pain-and-suffering for the time between the accident and the eventual death. Punitive damages are awarded by a jury for gross negligence.
Wrongful Death Enhancement
The wrongful death claims will then extend from the original estate claim and be payable directly to the family of the decedent. The rules regarding who is actually assigned standing for the wrongful death action are complicated, and they can extend to multiple relatives and spouses. The priority order of standing assignment is:
- Spouses and/or domestic partners
- Dependent children
- Minor children 50% dependent
- Designated inheritor absent no other priority family member
Contact a Sacramento CA Law Firm
A successful wrongful death claim can significantly enhance the value of any financial recovery following an untimely and unnecessary death caused by the gross negligence of another party. The attorney you choose can make a major difference in your case. Always call the wrongful death attorneys in Sacramento at The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC first and let them put their experience to work for you.