Coping with the death of a family member or close friend is difficult, no matter what the circumstances surrounding the death were. However, if a loved one died due to the negligent actions of a third party, it becomes even more difficult.

This is why it is possible to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of an individual who died tragically due to negligence. However, only certain persons have the right to file a wrongful death suit in California. According to FindLaw, there are three main categories of persons who can file a wrongful death suit.

What are the three categories?

The first category includes a surviving spouse, any children or whomever will inherit the deceased’s property under intestate laws. Of all the categories, it is most likely a person from this first category will be the one filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

The next category includes persons who were dependent on the deceased in a provable manner. For instance, if the deceased was in a voidable marriage with a surviving “spouse,” this person would be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit even if legally the “spouse” was not married to the deceased.

Finally, a non-related minor child who lived with the deceased for at least 180 days and relied on the deceased for at least one half of their support may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

When should I file my wrongful death claim?

If you belong to one of the three categories of persons who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of California, it is best to do so as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years.