If a loved one has died due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. However, not just anyone who was related to or depended on the deceased may do so — there are specific statutes giving certain people the right to file such a claim in the event of a wrongful death.
The following are some examples of beneficiaries who may be allowed to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim:
- Immediate family members. Spouses and children (both natural and adopted) have the primary right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, just as they have the first right to an inheritance in estate law.
- Parents. Parents of unmarried children who did not have children of their own have the next priority when it comes to filing wrongful death lawsuits. Additionally, in wrongful death cases involving a deceased fetus, the parents have the right to recover compensation.
- Other family members. Siblings and grandparents may have the right to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in the absence of other immediate family members or parents.
- Domestic partners. The definition of a domestic or life partner may vary from state to state, but in California these partners may have the right to seek compensation for a wrongful death.
- Financial dependents. Individuals who depend on the deceased financially, and anyone who would suffer financially as a result of the death, could have the right to file a claim.
Wrongful death cases can be complicated, especially when it comes to determining if you even have the right to file a claim in the first place. For more information on getting started with your case, contact an experienced San Diego attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.