Deadlines for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in California
Under California law, the statute of limitations or “deadline” to file a wrongful death claim is two years.
Specifically, the representatives of the estate of a victim or surviving family members such as a child, grandchildren of a deceased child, a spouse or parent of the victim, have two years from the date of the person’s death to pursue a lawsuit against a person, business or other entity.
You should always consult with an attorney as there are some exceptions. For example, cases where a government entity or employee is responsible or when a defendant dies as a result of the crash. In those cases, a person has less time to file a claim.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death in California happens when someone’s actions led to the death of a person. This includes acts of negligence such as a drunken driving crash, a driver running a red traffic light or stop sign, medical malpractice or even malice in the case of a murder.
What is Compensation or Damages?
The surviving family members are entitled to compensation or damages for the loss of their loved one. These damages are reasonable economic and non-economic in nature. Specifically, economic damages include any financial support that was lost when the person died, the loss of gifts or benefits that the decedent would have given to their loved ones, funeral and burial expenses and the reasonable value of household services the person would have provided. The non-economic damages are the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, as well as the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations for a spouse and the loss of the person’s training and guidance in the case of a child.
What Happens if the Government is to Blame?
There are various types of cases where a person files a claim or lawsuit against a government entity or employee. An attorney has a six-month period to file a lawsuit or claim against a government entity such as a city, county, state or federal, if they are responsible for the wrongful death. Typical government claims are collisions involving a government vehicle, accidents at federal buildings or public schools, dangerous roads or intersections, and more.
It’s important that your claim is filed before six months since the date of the death or you will lose your right to file a lawsuit.
What if the California Statute of Limitations Expires?
In California, the statute of limitations is strict and if you miss the deadline you cannot have your claim heard in court. That’s why it is so important to contact a California lawyer immediately following the death of a loved one if wrongful death is suspected. The attorney will ensure deadlines are met and you have your day in court.
Who Can Help You with A Wrongful Death Claim?
To file a wrongful death claim in California, you will need an experienced attorney who is licensed in California. Attorney James Johnson, founder of Johnson Attorneys Group, has been helping families obtain justice on behalf of their loved one recover compensation for their losses.
Contact us to request a free, confidential consultation at 1-800-235-6801.
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