Lancaster Wrongful Death Lawyers
The grief of suddenly losing a loved one is among life’s worst curveballs. Further compounding the emotional toll are the mounting medical bills, loss of wages, and other abrupt expenses incurred to cover a loved one’s burial and funeral. You may wonder how you’ll carry on without the support, guidance, and companionship of this dear and devoted member of the family.
Fortunately, the civil courts of California allow you to seek some solace in pursuing justice for your loved one and requesting damages to help your family get by in the days to come. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law to discuss your full range of legal options. Consultations are always free and you owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for the estate.
Wrongful death and survival action benefits
When a loved one dies due to the negligence of another, there are two types of lawsuits you can bring against the wrongdoers:
- A wrongful death lawsuit (California Civil Procedure §377.60) – Families may petition the courts for compensation due to loss of financial support, guidance, household services, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of companionship.
- A survival action (California Code of Civil Procedure §377.30) – Families can seek compensation on behalf of a decedent who did not succumb immediately from his or her injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California?
California allows the closest heirs and dependents to file a claim against the party or parties at fault for wrongful death. The law establishes the following order of priority for eligible claimants:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the victim
- Children or other dependent minors living in the household for six months or more
- Dependent parents living with or otherwise in the care of the decedent
If these eligible heirs do not exist, the laws of intestate succession may apply. Parents who are not dependents, siblings, children of deceased siblings, grandparents, or the next of kin may be able to recover. In the event of multiple claimants, it may be prudent to have the personal representative of the decedent bring the wrongful death suit and survival cause of action, and distribute the compensation in accordance with the law.
California’s wrongful death statute of limitations
The deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in California is “within two years of injury or death,” as governed by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. However, there may be exceptions to this general rule. What if you only recently found out the true cause of death? In some instances – particularly those involving medical facilities — families are allowed up to three years of the date of injury OR one year after the discovery of harm. In other cases, a shorter deadline may apply. For instance, government tort claims involving city vehicles, state hospitals, or other government entities may need to be filed within six months of the injury. Temper your expectations based on these guidelines, but it is always best to contact a wrongful death lawyer before discounting yourself from the right to compensation.
Get a Lancaster wrongful death attorney who truly cares
For more than 20 years, we have served the Los Angeles metro. Our El Segundo office is located less than 90 minutes southwest of Lancaster, via I-405 and CA-14. Our compassionate team of Lancaster wrongful death lawyers will provide your family with the personal attention and care you deserve in your time of grief. If necessary, we can refer you to advocacy or support groups that support your family’s healing. Get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney at Ellis Injury Law today. We fight for justice!