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Are There Limits On Wrongful Death Settlements In California?

If you lost a loved one in a car crash or other accident, only you can understand the pain you are experiencing. Suddenly, someone you count on daily is gone, and your life is in turmoil. While legal action might be the furthest thing from your mind, you may want to consider it if another person caused your loved one’s death.

You will learn below about essential aspects of California’s wrongful death laws, including limits on certain types of settlements. If you want to maximize your financial recovery in a wrongful death lawsuit contact the Oakland wrongful death lawyers at Bracamontes & Vlasak. We have an impressive track record of favorable settlements and verdicts. We are ready to put our formidable legal skills to work for you.

Caps On Wrongful Death Settlements In California

If you file a lawsuit for wrongful death in California, it is natural to wonder if there are caps on the settlement or verdict you can receive. Generally, there are no caps on wrongful death damages, with one exception for medical malpractice cases. In 2023, AB 35 took effect, increasing the cap for med mal wrongful death claims from $250,000 to $500,000. The cap is scheduled to increase $50,000 annually through 2033 to $1 million. Note that the bill is not retroactive and only applies to cases filed on or after Jan. 1, 2023.

Wrongful death cases other than medical malpractice, such as car accidents, and slip and fall mishaps, do not have any cap on damages. The amount of economic and non-economic damages recoverable in a wrongful death case depends on what evidence the loved ones present to the jury about the personal and economic relationship they had with the loved one who died. If you have additional questions about lawsuit damages, talk to one of our Oakland wrongful death lawyers at (415) 835-6777.

California Statute Of Limitations

Like every state, California has a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The wrongful death statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of the person’s death. Ensure that you retain an experienced wrongful death attorney well before the deadline. It is always best to retain an attorney early, so they can collect evidence and begin working on the case.

How A California Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

If you lost a primary breadwinner in your home, you may lack the income to pay your mortgage or rent, utilities, food, college expenses, etc. An experienced California wrongful death attorney can review the case circumstances, determine how the death occurred, and determine if another party could be held liable. While a financial settlement or favorable verdict will not bring your loved one back, it could provide much-needed economic security and a sense of justice for your grievous loss.

You Can Count On Our Oakland Wrongful Death Lawyers

Losing a loved one in an accident is an agonizing ordeal that people rarely anticipate. If it happens, it can devastate you emotionally and financially. No amount of money will ever replace someone dear to you, but money in our system is a form of justice and you may be entitled to justice.

If another party caused the death, you should consider pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit to ensure your family is provided for. You can rely on the Oakland wrongful death lawyers at Bracamontes & Vlasak to fight for your rights and compensation. Call (415) 835-6777 for a free initial consultation today.

How Is Wrongful Death In California Proven?

California’s wrongful death laws allow a surviving family member to file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation when another person’s actions lead to the death of their loved one. Learn below how to prove wrongful death, and if you have questions about a case, the Oakland wrongful death lawyers at Bracamontes & Vlasak can answer them today.

California Wrongful Death Overview

A wrongful death claim can arise from many kinds of accidents, including car accidents, truck accidents, criminal activity, medical malpractice, and exposure to dangerous chemicals. Regardless of why the accident happened, you must prove the following to obtain compensation in a wrongful death claim in California:

  • Your loved one died.
  • The death was caused by someone’s negligence or another person’s intent to cause harm.
  • The surviving family suffered monetary damages because of the death.
  • A personal representative for the deceased’s estate has been appointed.

Proving wrongful death in California only requires you to show a preponderance of the evidence to determine liability. This is a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt, which is needed for a criminal trial.

Who Can File A California Wrongful Death Claim?

Those who can file a wrongful death claim in California are the deceased’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and the issue of deceased children. Please consult a wrongful death attorney to determine who has standing to bring the wrongful death claim.

How Long Do You Have To File A Wrongful Death Claim?

California has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, stating that you have two years from the date of the deceased’s death to file suit. If you fail to file the claim within two years, the family will probably lose the right to obtain compensation.

What Compensation Can You Receive In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If your wrongful death lawsuit succeeds, you can receive economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include:

  • Any financial support the deceased would have provided to the family.
  • Loss of benefits or gifts that the family would have received from the deceased.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Reasonable dollar value of the household services that the deceased would have provided.

Non-economic damages may include the following:

  • Loss of the deceased’s companionship, love, care, comfort, assistance, protection, moral support, and affection.
  • The spouse’s loss of an intimate relationship with the deceased.
  • Loss of the deceased’s guidance.

There is no cap on wrongful death damages in California in most cases. However, one exception is the cap on damages for medical malpractice cases. For 2023, the medical malpractice damages cap was $350,000 for injuries related to medical malpractice that do not cause death and $500,000 for injuries that resulted in wrongful death.

Contact Our Oakland Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

Did you lose a loved one in an accident caused by someone’s negligence? You could be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses, lost future earnings, loss of comfort, care and guidance, loss of inheritance, and more. Contact our Oakland wrongful death lawyers at Bracamontes & Vlasak. We are ready to fight for your rights today, so please call (415) 835-6777.

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?

The wrongful death laws in California allow certain family members to file a wrongful death claim to obtain compensation when a person’s or entity’s actions lead to the death of a loved one. You may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death action whether the death was because of negligence, such as running a stop sign, or malice, as with a murder. Speak to our Oakland wrongful death attorney at Bracamontes & Vlasak for more information about the state’s wrongful death laws and your case.

What Is A Wrongful Death?

A California wrongful death claim can arise from many situations, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, criminal activity, and more. To receive compensation in a lawsuit, you must prove the following:

  • A person died
  • The death was due to someone else’s negligence or desire to cause harm
  • The surviving family suffered financial losses because of the death
  • There is a personal representative for the deceased’s estate that has been appointed

Note that proving wrongful death only requires showing a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ to prove liability. This is a lower standard than needed to obtain a guilty verdict in a criminal case, which is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’

Who May Sue For Wrongful Death In California?

CCP 377.60 (a) in California states that the following parties may sue for wrongful death:

  • The deceased’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, and the issue of deceased children. If there is no surviving issue of the deceased, the persons – such as the surviving domestic partner or spouse – can receive the deceased’s property according to intestate succession. Intestate succession means a person who is authorized by the law to inherit the deceased’s property if the person died without a will.
  • The putative spouse, his or her children, stepchildren, or parents, if they were dependent on the deceased. According to the statute, ‘putative spouse’ means a surviving spouse of a marriage determined by the court to have thought in good faith it was a valid marriage.
  • A minor, if, when the deceased died, he or she resided for the previous six months in the deceased’s household and was a dependent for 50% or more of the minor’s financial support.

What Are The Available Damages In A California Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California and receive a settlement or favorable verdict, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:

  • Medical expenses to care for the deceased before their death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The amount of money the decedent would have earned if they had not died
  • Loss of financial support for the family members who survived
  • Loss of affection and companionship for the surviving family members

How Long Do You Have To File A California Wrongful Death Claim?

You have only two years from the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. If the case is not filed in the appropriate court at that time, the family usually loses the right to file a lawsuit.

Contact Our Oakland Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you lose a loved one in an accident because of someone’s negligence, the wrongful death laws in California protect you. You may be entitled to compensation for your terrible loss, so please contact our Oakland wrongful death attorney at Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., today at (415) 835-6777.

What are the Advantages of New California Law Expanding Wrongful Death Damages?

On October 1st, 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 447 into law. The bill allows heirs of a victim to pursue general damages (pain and suffering) through a survival action claim. While eligible family members have always been able to recover general damages for loss of companionship, guidance, and comfort through a wrongful death claim, general damages were previously not recoverable through a survival action claim.

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What is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in California?

Losing someone you care about is heartbreaking, especially when it is a wrongful death caused by someone else. Under California law (California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.30), eligible family members of the deceased victim can bring a wrongful death suit against the at-fault parties to get justice and economic support. During such a difficult time, you may want to know: How much compensation can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit?

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What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Losing a loved one is devastating. A preventable death can take a spiritual, emotional and financial toll on a family. While nothing can ever truly make up for such a heartbreaking loss, a civil wrongful death claim allows close family members of the loved one to get accountability and financial support. Below, our San Francisco wrongful death lawyer provides an overview of damages that can be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit in California.
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