Losing a loved one can bring about a rollercoaster of emotions and responsibility. If their death was due to the negligent or purposeful act of another, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. With a wrongful death case, there are a multitude of damages that you might be able to recover, and knowing about the different damages that exist is an important element of the process. Each wrongful death case is different in scope and scale, which can result in varying amounts of recoverable damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
As spelled out in Section 377.60 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure, only certain individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death claim. The following parties are allowed to bring forth a wrongful death case:
- The deceased individual’s surviving spouse
- The deceased individual’s domestic partner
- The deceased individual’s child(ren)
- In the event that no one survives from the previously indicated line of descent, “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” may submit a wrongful death claim. This also applies to the deceased person’s living parents or siblings.
- If there is an individual who was “dependent on the decedent, the putative spouse, children of the putative parents,, spouse, stepchildren, or the legal guardian of the decedent if the parents are deceased,” they are also able to file a wrongful death claim.
Economic damages are tangible and quantifiable forms of compensation that you may be able to recover as a result of a wrongful death claim. The various economic damages that may be available to you include:
- Burial and funeral expenses for the deceased individual
- Loss of financial support from the deceased individual
- Gifts, inheritances, and benefits you would have received from the deceased individual
- Lost wages the deceased individual would have received if they were still alive
- Medical expenses of the deceased individual, such as hospital bills
Non-economic damages are intangible and unquantifiable forms of compensation that encompass the emotional and psychological effects of losing a loved one to wrongful death. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are far more subjective and difficult to measure. Some non-economic damages that you may be able to recover are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of sexual relations
- Loss of love, affection, and companionship, also known as loss of consortium
- Loss of deceased individual’s guidance
Is There a Cap on Recoverable Damages?
The damages cap for wrongful death claims varies from state to state. In California, for example, there is no damage cap on wrongful death cases, except in the case of medical malpractice. California currently has a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages that will increase by $50,000 each year until it reaches $1 million. Regardless of whether there is a cap on recoverable damages, nothing can make up for the lost life of a loved one.
Have a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you have lost a loved one due to wrongful death, you need to get in contact with a Van Nuys wrongful death lawyer who can help fight for you and help recover the damages you may be entitled to. Wrongful death cases can be tricky and ridden with emotion, therefore having the support of an experienced legal team will make the world of difference during these difficult times.