Wrongful death claims in California can lead to confusion in a number of ways. Most people, when they contemplate filing a lawsuit based on a physical injury, think in terms of injury to themselves; but a wrongful death claim relates to injuries suffered by someone else. Furthermore, it can be challenging to understand how a wrongful death lawsuit can be proven in court when the person directly involved -- the decedent -- is unavailable to testify. Finally, questions can arise as to who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, especially given the changing nature of family relationships. What happens if the decedent has no immediate surviving family? Can ex-spouses or children born out of wedlock qualify as plaintiffs?
Although California has a wrongful death statute, it can be difficult to fully understand if you have not had any experience in applying it in a court setting. Also, the wrongful death statute is not completely self-contained. It does not, for example, contain its own statute of limitations, and some types of damages must be determined by reference to other statutes. One more consideration is that a wrongful death claim is, ultimately, an extension of another kind of lawsuit, ordinarily a personal injury suit. These actions have their own specific elements to be proven, such as the existence of negligence, actual and proximate causation, and more.
At Callahan & Blaine, we have extensive experience with investigating, negotiating, settling and litigating California wrongful death claims. Although each case is unique and we cannot guarantee success, we have won significant damages awards for wrongful death clients. Following the loss of a loved one, particularly in the tragic circumstance of an untimely death caused by the negligent or willful act of someone else, you will have enough to be concerned with without needing to become an expert in the law. Knowing and applying the law in your favor to the fullest extent possible is what we do.
If you believe that you may have a legal claim against another person or even a company for the wrongful death of a relative, call us at 714-241-4444 in the local area, or toll free 888-284-0809 to arrange for a consultation with one of our attorneys at no cost to you. Or, if you prefer, you can contact us through our website.