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When can family members file a wrongful death lawsuit in CA?

Accidental deaths happen every day in California. Some people die because of motor vehicle collisions, while others can suffer fatal injuries in their own homes or at their place of work. Regardless of the location of the accident, it can be very difficult for family members to cope with the consequences of an accidental death.

Losing someone unexpectedly creates a lot of emotions that can be quite difficult to process. This is particularly true in scenarios where the last conversation someone had with their deceased loved one was intense or negative. Even if you hugged your loved one and said goodbye the last time you saw them, you may have unresolved emotions or things you still wish you could say to them.

Beyond the emotional difficulty, your family will undoubtedly also experience financial hardship as a result of your loss. If the circumstances of the accident qualify under California law, you may be able to seek compensation for your loss as a wrongful death.

Not every accidental death is a wrongful death

Accidental deaths may not be the result of the actions of any one person. Sometimes, people die because of unpredictable weather or a surprising mechanical malfunction that could not have been predicted. Other times, it is obvious that the action or inaction of one person directly contributed to the tragic outcome.

Under California law, family members can seek compensation for fatal accidents, provided that the death of their loved one was the result of negligence or a wrongful act on the part of another person. Negligence typically involves failing to do what a responsible adult would in any given situation. Improper maintenance of facilities or failure to care for a motor vehicle may both fall under the category of negligence.

Wrongful acts involve breaking the law, in most cases. The violation of the law could include anything from breaking traffic laws to causing an accident during the commission of another crime. If you have any kind of evidence that indicates that the accident was the result of negligence or a wrongful act, you may want to speak with a lawyer who has experience with California wrongful death cases.

Not all deaths qualify for compensation

Beyond the circumstances of the accident qualifying under California's wrongful death statute, you also need to verify that the circumstances allow for compensation. If the person who died already had a fatal illness or was an unborn child, you may have very limited rights regarding compensation.

Don't let that deter you from exploring your potential options. An attorney can give you direction on the best way to proceed, as well as on your options for compensation under California civil law.

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