When Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

February 1, 2018
On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg Posted in Wrongful Death

When a loved one dies because of someone else’s behavior, what would already have been a great loss can become even more painful. Wrongful death is a statutory action, which can provide compensation to the surviving family of a person who has passed away due to the wrongful conduct of another. Normally, wrongful death compensation can be claimed by a spouse or child, but it may be available to another individual, depending on the circumstances. An expert Los Angeles wrongful death attorney will be able to assess the specifics of your case and advise on whether you may have a claim.

When Does Wrongful Death Law Apply?

As with other aspects of the law, the circumstances in which a wrongful death claim can be made vary between states but, in Los Angeles and the rest of California, it must be proven that:

  • The deceased’s death resulted from either the negligence or wrongful conduct of another person
  • The damages suffered by the heirs or beneficiaries are valued at a certain figure. This can be discussed with a wrongful death attorney when the claim is first discussed

Even where these points can be proven with concrete evidence, the claim may not proceed smoothly. For example, certain insurance terms and conditions can apply to deaths occurring in motor accidents. This is where your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney’s experience and expertise prove valuable.

Who Can Claim Wrongful Death Compensation?

As wrongful death compensation is intended to cover damages and losses incurred as a result of someone’s death, it can only be claimed by a person, or persons, closely related to the deceased. The normal hierarchy involved in wrongful death claims is:

  • Surviving spouse, children, and surviving issue of deceased children can make a wrongful death claim on a “joint and several” basis, meaning all are included in a single claim
  • If there are no spouses or children, the deceased person’s parents are next in line for eligibility, following by siblings, then deceased sibling’s children, then grandparents. Your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can advise what happens if you fall into a different category but feel you have grounds for a claim
  • Minors who both lived with the deceased and received at least 50% support from this person for at least 180 days before death may also have a claim

Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

In short, yes. If you want to make sure that, not only do you get awarded any wrongful death compensation you’re entitled to, but you get the best possible outcome, you need an experienced wrongful death lawyer in your corner. As no two cases will be the same, your attorney will need to investigate many details before responsibility can officially be established. Dealing with the insurance company alone may be a very trying experience, and could lead an inexperienced person to give up.

After you’ve lost a loved one, the last thing you need is to fight for wrongful death compensation. Rather than taking it on your own shoulders, schedule a consultation to discuss your case with a Los Angeles attorney by calling 310-997-0904.


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