If a loved one is killed because of the negligent act of another person, immediate family members or closely related heirs may sue for wrongful death. Such a suit can be filed even if the action that led to a person’s death was not intentional.
Furthermore, it is an event separate from any criminal proceedings that may take place, and the results of one case do not necessarily impact the results in the other proceeding. In some cases, an individual may be exempt from a wrongful death suit if the person who caused the act was the victim’s family member.
In California, a wrongful death case may provide compensation either to the estate of the deceased individual or the surviving family members. The amount that an estate or individual may receive depends on the facts of a given case. For example, the estate would likely be awarded any cost of burying the victim or conducting a funeral. Any medical bills that the deceased incurred before passing on would also be awarded to the estate.
An individual would likely win a direct award for the loss of financial support because a parent or spouse passed on. It may also be possible to win a financial award to compensate for the loss of emotional support, moral support and guidance from the deceased. An attorney may be able to help an individual determine if he or she has standing in a case and to determine what type of and how much compensation may be available.