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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action in California?

Posted on in Wrongful Death

Glendale wrongful death lawyerLosing a loved one because someone else was careless about their safety can be a devastating blow to any family. Under California state law, certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit and demand compensation for the loss of their loved one. Our state statutes place limits on which relatives have standing to file this type of case. Generally, the purpose of this law is to make sure that the family members who were closest to the decedent will be the ones to receive compensation. While more distant relatives may also have cared deeply for the individual who lost their life, they may not be legally entitled to sue over their death. If one of your immediate family members was killed due to the negligence of another, contacting an attorney is the first step toward recovering damages. 

Which Family Members Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

The goal of allowing wrongful death suits is to ensure that those who were most likely to depend on the decedent in some way - whether financially, emotionally, or otherwise - can be made whole to the extent possible. While there is no doubt that others may have suffered as a result of the needless death, the right to compensation is reserved for the closest relatives. 

In California, only the following immediate relatives can file a wrongful death suit: 

  • Spouse or partner - The surviving spouse or legal domestic partner of the decedent is highly likely to have depended on them to provide for them financially or for domestic help in addition to loving emotional support. These individuals can sue for their spouse or partner’s wrongful death. 
  • Children - Even adult children often continue to benefit from their parent’s guidance and care, or even for financial help. Losing a parent can be a horrible emotional blow. Minor children may also be able to recover damages, although additional steps will have to be taken. 
  • Grandchildren - If the person was killed wrongfully, and they have a child who is also deceased, then the children of the predeceased child can file a wrongful death case. Children who have lost a parent often rely on their grandparents instead and will be allowed to file a wrongful death case. 

If none of the above exist, then any person who would have an interest in the decedent’s estate according to the laws of intestate succession can then be granted standing to bring a lawsuit instead. Most commonly, this applies to the decedent’s parents or siblings. 

Call an L.A. County Wrongful Death Attorney

If you lost an immediate family member wrongfully, Tahmazian Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help you recover financial compensation. Our compassionate and skilled Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers will do everything in our power to get you the settlement or award you deserve. Call 818-242-8201 for a free consultation. 




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