Regardless of the circumstances, there is nothing more devastating than losing a loved family member. It is all the more tragic when this death occurs as the result of an accident or malicious act, and when the victim died in the prime of his or her life at a time when others, including spouses, children, and even parents depended on the deceased for their emotional and financial support.

What gets considered to be a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death attorney can be hired after someone is killed by another party’s negligence, misconduct, or illegal activity. Generally, surviving close family members will have the right to make a claim for damages in such cases.

Wrongful death claims often rely on evidence from a criminal conviction to prove the liability of an at-fault party. However, it is not always necessary for the liable party to be guilty of a crime. Take O.J. Simpson for example. He was not convicted of murder, but he was later found liable in civil court for the wrongful death of the individuals he was accused of killing.

Eligibility For a Wrongful Death Claim

Generally, only close family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, because there are other possible parties who may be eligible for a claim in certain circumstances, it’s important to review your case with a qualified wrongful death lawyer. An experienced wrongful death attorney can evaluate your relationship to your loved one and help determine whether you have a valid legal claim.

California’s wrongful death statute permits the following surviving relatives to bring a wrongful death action:

Additional people may also have the right to bring wrongful death lawsuits if they depended financially on the deceased person.

Such people include:

When To Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Southern California?

The death of a loved one is always a tragedy, but it will only qualify a family for a civil lawsuit in certain circumstances. First, the death must meet the state’s definition of wrongful death. California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 defines wrongful death as a death from another person’s criminal act or neglect. You will only have grounds for a claim if someone else caused or substantially contributed to your family member’s death, such as a drunk driver or negligent doctor.

Second, you must be within your statute of limitations. In most cases, you have two years from the day your loved one died to bring a wrongful death claim. If you miss this deadline, a lawyer may be unable to help you. The courts in Los Angeles generally refuse late patients on principle, with few exceptions. If you are not sure whether you have missed the deadline to file your claim, speak to a wrongful death attorney for assistance.

 A wrongful death lawyer will understand how to handle your claim to maximize the odds of success. Call an attorney if your loved one lost their life in an auto accident, workplace accident, fall, animal attack, an act of violence, or another circumstance that could point to someone else’s fault. If applicable, a lawyer can review your case for signs of wrongdoing and help you bring a claim forward.

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