Law Offices of John E Cowan

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(415) 870-3200

Law Offices of John E Cowan

In California, a wrongful death claim arises when one person dies as the result of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit requiring a wrongful death attorney. It is brought by the survivors of the deceased person or by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

Fault is expressed solely in terms of money damages, which the court orders the defendant to pay to the decedent’s survivors, if the lawsuit ends up successful. In that way, a wrongful death claim differs from a criminal case for homicide, which is brought by the state and in which case, guilt is penalized with jail or prison, probation, or other methods. A family in California may bring a civil wrongful death claim to court, even if a criminal case is already pending.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in San Francisco, California?

As you will be informed by your wrongful death attorney, only certain people are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The relevant statute only allows the following parties to bring a wrongful death claim:

  • the deceased person’s surviving spouse
  • the deceased person’s domestic partner
  • the deceased person’ s surviving children

If there is no surviving relative in the deceased person’s line of descent, then a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession. That can include the deceased person’s parents or the deceased individual’s siblings, depending on who is living at the time of the deceased person’s death. If they can show through their San Francisco wrongful death attorney that they were financially dependent on the deceased person, the following people can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California:

  • the deceased person’s putative spouse and children of the putative spouse
  • the deceased person’s stepchildren
  • the deceased person’s parents
Which Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim in San Francisco, CA?

A variety of different kinds of personal injury damages are available in a wrongful death claim in California and you should be advised on your specific damages by an experienced wrongful death attorney. The specific amounts involved will depend on the facts of your individual case. Damages are typically divided according to whether they compensate the estate for losses associated with the death or the surviving family members for the personal losses they suffered as a result of the loss. Losses that are typically attributed to the estate include:

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • medical and hospital bills for the deceased person’s final illness or injury
  • lost income, including potential income the deceased person would reasonably have been expected to earn in the future, if he or she had lived

Losses that are typically attributed to the surviving family members include:

  • the value of household services
  • loss of anticipated financial support
  • loss of love, community, attention, affection, moral support, and guidance
John Cowan, Esq.

Call Now To Speak To Us About Your Needs
(415) 870-3200

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