A wrongful death case is a case in which a person dies due to the intentional or negligent act of another person or entity. The law allows relatives, domestic partners, and people who depend on a wrongful death victim for support to sue for wrongful death. The issue of who can sue for wrongful death is discussed below.

Wrongful death cases are traditionally among the most emotionally charged cases in personal injury.

Wrongful death cases can take many forms. For example; a loved one could die in a car or motorcycle accident that was not her fault; a loved one may have been killed due to excessive use of force by the police or a private security agency; a loved one may have died due to a dangerous condition on public or private property, including faulty roads or improperly posted traffic signs; a loved one may have died due to faulty building construction on a property; an unborn child may have died due to the negligence of a physician, or due to assault and battery on the mother; a loved one may have died due to a defective product or negligent repair.

A wrongful death case can arise when someone is injured in an accident and later dies as a result of their injuries.


This Statute of Limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in the State of California is two (2) years from the date of the accident or incident that caused the wrongful death. If you do not file a lawsuit within two (2) years, you will lose your right to sue! CPC ยง 335.1

There are exceptions to the above rule if the wrongful death was caused by the negligence of a doctor or health care provider, or due to construction defects.

If the defendant in the wrongful death action is a government entity, a claim must be filed with that government entity within 6 months from the date of the accident. If the entity rejects the claim, it must file a claim within six months from the date of rejection.


A cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another may be brought by any of the following persons or by the personal representative of the victim on his behalf:

(a) The surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and children of deceased children of the victim, or, if there are no surviving children of the victim, persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would have victim’s right to property by intestate succession (a person who dies without a will).

(b) Qualified or not in subparagraph (a) above, if they depended on the victim, the putative spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren or parents. ‘Putative spouse’ means the surviving spouse of a void or voidable marriage who is determined by the court to have a good faith belief that the marriage to the victim was valid.

(c) A child, if, at the time of the victim’s death, the child resided for the preceding 180 days in the victim’s home and was dependent on the victim for half or more of the child’s support.

As you can see, there are many people who may qualify to sue for wrongful death. Our law firm handles wrongful death cases and can tell you whether or not you have the right to sue for wrongful death.

Compensation you are entitled to in a wrongful death case WRONG DEATH DAMAGES

Financial Support: The financial support, if any, that the person who was a victim of wrongful death would have provided to the family during the victim’s prior life expectancy [his/her] death or the life expectancy of the person you are suing, whichever is shorter.

Loss of gifts and benefits: The loss of gifts or benefits that the person bringing the claim would have expected to receive from the victim of a wrongful death.

Funeral and Burial Expenses: The cost of funeral and burial expenses.

The fair value of household services: the fair value of the household services that the victim would have provided

The loss of love, companionship, consolation, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and the moral support that the victim would have provided.

Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations with the victim.

Loss of training and orientation of the victim.


Punitive damages (punitive damages) are awarded to the victim’s estate in a representative estate action based on the cause of action the victim would have had if they had survived. An example of a case or a victim’s estate can sue for wrongful death with punitive damages would be wrongful death.

Copyright 2006