A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit filed by the heirs of a person killed by the negligence or intentional act of another.
Wrongful death claims can arise out of a variety of situations including traffic accidents, harmful products, workplace injuries, and intentional injuries such as shootings.
Under the California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60, a wrongful death claim can be asserted by a variety of people, including:
- Spouses and domestic partners
- Children and grandchildren
- Other heirs who “would have been entitled to property of the decedent by intestate succession”
- Dependents, including stepchildren and parents
The elements of a wrongful death action generally mirror those of a tort (civil wrong) case, such as negligence and resulting death.
There are a variety of damages available to plaintiffs in wrongful death cases, including loss of love and support. Although filing a wrongful death claim cannot bring back a loved one, many clients pursue wrongful death claims in order to send a strong message against whomever caused the death and to prevent others from being harmed by that person or entity