Does California Allow Wrongful Death Claims for Murder?

When you’ve lost a loved one at the hands of another, it’s only natural to seek justice for them. With murder in particular, it can be difficult to sit back and let law enforcement bring criminal charges against the person who murdered your family member, but fortunately, you do have some legal options that you can consider to get justice on your own.

The state of California does allow certain individuals to pursue wrongful death claims against someone who has murdered their loved one, however, this should only be done when the murder has sufficient means to compensate you accordingly.

Below, we discuss who is able to pursue the wrongful death claim  and what damages should be included when determining how much your claim is worth.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Under the law, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, adult children, and in some cases adult grandchildren will have the opportunity to file a wrongful death claim.

If no such relatives apply, then the decedent’s siblings or other family members who would have been entitled to an inheritance of the decedent can file the claim. What’s more, the decedent’s parents or stepchildren can bring forward a wrongful death claim in the event that they were financially dependent on the decedent prior to their passing.

Accounting for Your Damages

Once you know whether or not you are legally able to file the wrongful death claim, you’ll work with your attorney to determine what damages should be included in your claim. In California, you an obtain compensation for the following losses:

  • Loss of financial support and/or income
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of benefits and gifts
  • The loss of household services
  • Loss of parental guidance and training
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Loss of comfort, support, care, affection and protection

You may also be able to bring forward a survivorship action that will allow you to recover compensation for the pain and suffering that the decedent endured between the time that they were initially injured and the time of their death.

Get Help from an Orange County Wrongful Death Lawyer

If your loved one has been murdered and you want to take matters into your own hands while you wait for a criminal trial to proceed, get in touch with an Orange County wrongful death lawyer who can help you bring a claim against the murderer in civil court.

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