A wrongful death occurs when one person dies as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of somebody else. These are civil cases for damages. They might spin off of occurrences like motor vehicle crashes, bicycle or pedestrian accidents, construction and industrial accidents, medical malpractice or even a homicide or murder. Although the person who caused the decedent’s death might be prosecuted in the criminal courts, the civil wrongful death case can be heard at the same time in a different courtroom with a different judge and jury.
California Wrongful Death Law
Each state has its own wrongful death statute. The appropriate California statute is found at section 377.60 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. According to the Sacramento CA wrongful death lawyers at Black & DePaoli, only the heirs who are identified in section 377.60 or their personal representative are allowed to bring a wrongful death action in the state. Here are the people that the statute includes:
- Legal spouses.
- Registered domestic partners at the time of the decedent’s death.
- Children of the decedent.
- Grandchildren of the decedent if the decedent’s children are deceased.
- The decedent’s stepchildren if they were dependent on the decedent for a minimum of 50% of their financial support.
- Anybody else who would be entitled to a share of the decedent’s property under California intestate succession laws.
Wrongful death cases involve high stakes, detailed statutory provisions, complicated procedures and strict rules of evidence. The fact that any of the above individuals is allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit certainly doesn’t mean that they should do so without a qualified and respected attorney. After losing a family member as a result of the act or failure to act of another person or entity in or around Sacramento, contact the Sacramento CA wrongful death lawyers at Black & DePaoli to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation. You can tell us what happened, and we can answer your questions, after that, we can discuss all of your legal alternatives.