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What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

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Date Modified: September 9, 2023

Today we take a comprehensive look at the eligibility of a wrongful death lawsuit. Michael Ehline, a wrongful death attorney, is extremely knowledgeable about California’s wrongful death statute. 

I am an attorney, Michael Ehline, an expert in wrongful death claims, and I offer a free consultation to the victim’s survivors. Ehline Law Firm can offer the most practical legal advice while maintaining an aggressive stance towards civil procedure.

Our primary goal is to help families acquire the greatest possible amount of financial compensation using our personable, aggressive skills to battle the insurance company and the at-fault party.

  • Video Transcript - What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

    Video Transcript - What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

    "0:00 what is the statute of limitations for
    0:02 filing a wrongful death claim the clock
    0:05 for the statute of limitations in a
    0:07 wrongful death claim usually starts to
    0:09 tick on the date of the death of the
    0:11 decedent in California the wrongful
    0:16 death statute as of 2007 is a two-year
    0:19 statute which means two years from the
    0:22 date that the decedent died within that
    0:24 time period the plaintiff in this case
    0:26 the family members would have to sue for
    0:29 wrongful death [music]"

When Can Someone File For a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

California law states a wrongful death case arises when an individual dies due to the legal fault of another entity or person.

Such incidents include:

  • Incidents are based on negligence like automobile accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Acts intended to harm an individual. Included in this category are crimes.

As with wrongful death lawsuits, the defendant’s liability generally involves paying financial compensation to the decedent’s surviving spouse or family member. If the plaintiff’s court rules, the responsible party who caused the wrongful death must cover funeral and burial expenses. One significant difference exists between a criminal homicide case and wrongful death claims. A conviction receives probation, jail time, or other sanctions.

The defendant’s liability is a key element to note between criminal prosecution and a wrongful death claim. It can only be shown by a preponderance of evidence which means the deceased person’s death is more than likely to be the accused’s responsibility. In a case like this acquiring a wrongful death lawyer from a personal injury law firm like Ehline would be one of the most suitable options.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

California’s wrongful death claims statutes permit the following persons to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury damages.

  • A domestic partner or the decedent’s surviving spouse.
  • The decedent’s surviving children.
  • Grandchildren of the child of the decedent.

If no surviving person exists in the deceased person’s descent, anyone who qualifies by intestate succession can file a wrongful death claim. The deceased person’s parents and the deceased person’s siblings are entitled to file a California wrongful death case. Individuals who can prove they were financially dependent on the victim can also file for compensation.

These people or entities can include:

  • A putative spouse of the deceased
  • Any children belonging to the putative decedent’s spouse
  • The deceased person’s parents
  • Stepchildren of the deceased
  • If the elders are deceased, a legal guardian may file suit.

What Damages are Possible In Wrongful Death Claims?

Compensatory damages are losses incurred by the plaintiff due to the decedent’s death. To fully grasp the scope of damages available to a surviving family member, we need to examine the California Civil Jury Instructions and the California Code.

The wrongful death of an adult can fall into two categories, non-economic and economic. Economic damages can include:

  • Financial support contributed by the deceased to family members.
  • Loss of benefits or gifts an individual expected to receive from the descendant
  • Funeral expenses
  • The household service that the decedent provides is paid in reasonable dollar value.

Non-economic damages include the following impacts on family members:

  • Loss of companionship, comfort, love, care, assistance, affection, protection, and moral support
  • Partner or spouse’s loss of intimacy with the descendant.
  • Loss of guidance.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

Like most civil lawsuits, wrongful death claims need to be filed within a particular time frame. That is known as the statute of limitations. The state laws of limitations permit a filing deadline of two years. One of the wrongful death lawyers at Ehline Law Firm can assist surviving family members through a professional attorney-client relationship.

Our personal injury attorneys are qualified to seek damages for your loved one’s death. It is done on behalf of the descendant who is suffering pain due to the wrongful death. We can help you recover compensation, the victim’s estate, non-economic losses, potential income, hospital expenses, and associated medical costs caused by the wrongful act.

Let Ehline Law Firm Help You With Understanding Wrongful Death Better

Contacting us is the first step to seeing if you have a legal standing to claim monetary damages. Don’t let someone else’s negligence cause suffering for years to come. Understanding the devastating events can help attorneys get more details of the victim’s passing. Speak to an attorney at Ehline Law Firm about your potential claim, and we can tailor advice for your situation. Our attention to detail is immaculate, and we have a reputable track record in California.

You no longer need to put good faith in unscrupulous individuals. Let our firm help in the process of recovering settlement in your case. Contact Ehline Law Firm and speak to a qualified attorney. A personal representative can help you recover damages caused by the unexpected death of a loved one. All confidential information is treated with the utmost respect.

Call us at (213) 596-9642. You can also fill out our comprehensive contact form to tell our superior, award-winning personal injury attorneys about your potential case 24/7 and obtain driving directions. Call now before you blow the statute of limitations to file a claim.

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients.
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Michael Ehline

Top Injury lawyer, Michael Ehline, Esq.
We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.