When a family member dies as a result of another party’s wrongdoing, California’s wrongful death law allows surviving relatives or beneficiaries to seek compensation for their losses within two years of a fatal accident. Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits filed when a deceased person’s surviving family members have proof beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is liable for the accident that occurred.
In a wrongful death claim, the intention is to recover compensatory damages for a loved one’s death, rather than seek any criminal punishment against the defendant. Whether your loved one was killed in a trucking accident or a slip-and-fall accident, a successful wrongful death claim can provide justice for you and your family during this uncertain time.
Understanding Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
In California, there are two types of damages surviving family members may be eligible to recover. Both types of damages are referred to as “monetary damages,” which are designed to compensate a plaintiff for losses or damages they’ve endured as a result of their loved one’s passing. From a financial standpoint, these reparations are aimed at making the plaintiff whole again—to an extent that’s possible in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are awarded when your family suffers financial losses. These types of damages are clear and relatively easy to calculate, and their value will never be altered by the jury assessing your case. Economic damages account for not only past and current losses but also losses that may arise in the future. You may seek compensation for economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses sustained while the decedent was still alive
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s wages and future income
- Loss of prospective inheritance from the decedent
- Loss of the decedent’s health insurance or pension benefits
Even small losses or financial setbacks can have an extremely negative impact on your family’s ability to live comfortably. No matter the extent of your losses, a competent attorney can help review the details of your case to ensure all your financial losses are granted.
After the sudden death of a family member, the psychological effects of the loss are often much greater than the financial impact. Therefore, California allows non-economic damages to be awarded. Non-economic damages are subjective and awarded to cover mostly emotional damages. They are typically harder to quantify, and different juries may reach different outcomes regarding a suitable value for non-economic damages. You may seek compensation for non-economic damages, including:
- Loss of counsel from the decedent
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of the decedent’s services
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
Since there is no tangible evidence to value the award, it’s entirely up to the jury to assign worth for non-economic values. A skilled wrongful death attorney can prove invaluable in documenting evidence that may help the jury fully compensate you.
Get Maximum Compensation with a Seasoned Wrongful Death Attorney
Coping with the loss of a loved one is life’s most stressful event. Sadness, anger, and numbness are a natural part of the grieving process, and these emotions become more intense as you realize that your family member’s death was caused by another party’s negligence. While no amount of financial compensation can make up for the loss your family has endured, being financially secure and knowing accountable parties are being held liable can provide some measure of peace and a sense of closure.
At CLC Law Group, APC, attorney Craig L. Chisvin is dedicated to helping victims and families get maximum compensation for their losses. With nearly 20 years of experience as a personal injury and wrongful death attorney serving the Southern California community, Craig Chisvin is known for obtaining favorable outcomes, and he is widely recognized for handling cases of the most complex nature. Let CLC Law Group put our experience to use for you. Call (310) 820-4488 or complete a contact form for a free initial consultation.