Can I recover punitive damages in a California wrongful death action?
The death of a loved one under any circumstances is heartbreaking, but the loss of a family member due to the negligence of someone else can be all the more tragic. Wrongful death claims can be filed by the relatives of a person killed as a result of someone else’s wrongful act. While a wrongful death lawsuit can never bring back the one you lost, it can potentially help alleviate some of the financial losses you have experienced due to the death of your loved one. Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys discuss the basics of a wrongful death lawsuit and the potential damages you might seek below.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits may arise out of a number of circumstances. Wrongful death claims are commonly filed when a person is killed in a car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, workplace accident, or due to medical malpractice. Per California law, only certain people can bring a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims can be filed by the deceased’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children. If none of these individuals exist, then anyone who would be entitled to the decedent’s property through intestate succession may bring the claim, which might include the decedent’s parents or siblings.
Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Damages in a wrongful death claim can include a number of financial and mental or emotional losses. You can seek recovery for the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses, as well as the financial support the deceased would have contributed had he or she lived. You can also seek recovery for the deceased’s love and companionship, moral support, and care, along with the deceased’s guidance and training.
Additionally, the estate’s personal representative can bring a survival action to recover losses suffered by the deceased prior to death. The estate can seek to recover the decedent’s medical bills, lost wages, and potentially punitive damages, if the defendant’s actions were egregious. Your wrongful death lawyer will closely review the accident to determine your legal right to recovery following the loss of your loved one.