Who Could File a Wrongful Death Claim?


The family of a person who dies due to the negligence of another person may sue for wrongful death. However, not every survivor can legally bring a wrongful death claim.  In Long Beach, California, lawyers for wrongful death lawsuits can file a claim against the negligent party, but only if you are one of the following people.

The Surviving Spouse

The surviving spouse qualifies if he or she was legally married to the decedent at the time of demise. The deceased person’s widow or widower is an immediate family member and could receive recompense legally under wrongful death actions.

The Decedent’s Domestic Partner

The deceased person’s registered domestic partner may have the same legal rights and benefits as a widower or widow. Following the wrongful death of a partner, the surviving domestic partner may then sue the person or entity responsible for the death.

The Decedent’s Surviving Children

The surviving children of the deceased person are part of the decedent’s immediate family. However, the term “children” may mean different things under different jurisdictions. If you’re a living child to a person who has died because of the fault or negligence of another, talk to a wrongful death lawyer about your legal rights.

The Deceased Person’s Parents

The parents of the deceased person may have a legal right to recovery. The parents may bring a wrongful death lawsuit if the law entitles them to the victim’s property by intestate succession.

There may be no surviving person in the decedent’s line of descent if for example, the deceased person was unmarried and didn’t have children.

The Deceased Person’s Siblings

The siblings of a deceased person may also be entitled to their brother’s or sister’s property by intestate succession. They may, therefore, recover compensation from the person who caused the death of their sibling. The “sisters and brothers” recognized as heirs by intestate succession could also include half-siblings either by blood or by adoption.

The Decedent’s Stepchildren

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The step kids of a deceased person may have the right to sue for wrongful death. The stepchildren may, however, have to prove they were up to the time of the death financially dependent on the decedent.

The Decedent’s Putative Spouse

The surviving or putative spouse or even the children can sometimes bring a wrongful death claim. The putative spouse or the children may only enjoy the right of recovery if they can prove financial dependence on the deceased person.

Not everyone is allowed by law to file a wrongful death claim in California. California’s wrongful death statute specifies the people who may make this kind of claim.

You may bring a wrongful death lawsuit if you’re an immediate family member to the deceased person. If you’re a distant family member, you will need to show you financially depended on the decedent.

If a family member goes through a serious accident, you should talk to a lawyer about your eligibility to file a claim and the damages you can recover. Ask them about the losses associated with the wrongful death of your loved one.

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