If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, then you know what an emotional and traumatic time it can be. Whether it was a parent, spouse, child or family member, it can be a particularly trying time for the entire family. This is especially true of the death was unexpected. When tragedy strikes in the form of an untimely death, family members are left with a multitude of diverse emotions and unanswered questions. Working through the grief is an individual process and may take months, if not years. In the meantime, you and your family may have questions revolving around the death of your loved one. You may feel that someone was to blame for their death. If your loved one died as a result of someone else’ negligence or intentional act, then you may have a Wrongful Death case. Whether they died as a result of a car accident, medical malpractice, work accident or at the hands of another person, you may qualify as a claimant in a Wrongful Death action under the laws of the State of California.
Who can file as a claimant in a California Wrongful Death action is governed by California Code of Civil Procedure §§ 377.60-377.62. According to the Code, the following people are entitled to file a claim for Wrongful Death:
· Surviving spouse
· Domestic partner
· Children of the decedent
· Issue of the deceased children (in other words offspring of a deceased child of the decedent)
· In the event that there are no surviving issue (offspring) of the decedent, then the persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.
What this section means is that if your loved one died without living offspring, then the family members that would normally inherent his estate may file a claim. That could include a spouse, domestic partner, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew or other family member under the rules of intestate succession in California.
· A putative spouse (this is someone that had a good faith belief that they were legally married to the decedent but in reality the marriage was void or voidable for a variety of legal reasons)
· Children of a putative spouse
· A minor who had resided for the previous 180 days in the decedent’s household and was dependant on the decedent for at least one-half of his support.
As you can see, a simple question like “who can file a wrongful death claim” can produce a rather complicated answer. That is why it is best to consult with an experienced California Wrongful Death attorney if you are considering filing a Wrongful Death claim. The attorneys at Ledger & Associates are experienced in handling California Wrongful Death claims and can answer all the questions you may have regarding a claim. We know what a difficult time this is, both emotionally and practically. Let us help you through it by calling 1-800-300-0001 or talk to us online at www.ledgerlaw.com