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What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death In California

California wrongful death statute of limitations
In the state of California, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the decedent’s passing. However, there are some exceptions to this statute in cases that involve minors, medical malpractice, and government entities.

California Statute Of Limitations in Wrongful Death

Family members will have two years from the date of the decedent’s passing to file a wrongful death claim. Failure to file within this time frame can result in a case being dismissed, preventing the surviving family members from recovering any compensation for the untimely loss of a loved one.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit allows the deceased party’s surviving family members to file a lawsuit against the negligent party to cover the cost of economic and non-economic damages. This provides financial relief to families who experience financial hardship due to the unexpected loss of a loved one, while also providing closure and a sense of justice for the devastating loss.

What Are Wrongful Death Damages?

In California, eligible parties can recover the following types of compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one:

Economic Damages

Families may be entitled to recover the following types of economic losses:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The financial support the decedent would have contributed during their lifetime
  • Household services the decedent would have provided

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages can include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of society and companionship
  • Loss of protection, affection, moral support, training and guidance
  • Loss of sexual relations

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

If the decedent was married, their spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Other parties that are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of California include:

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Other surviving family members
  • If there is no surviving spouse, children, or parents, non-family heirs can file a lawsuit

Are There Any Exceptions to the California Statute of Limitations?

There are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations:

  • The discovery rule
  • Lawsuits involving minors
  • Lawsuits involving government entities

Discovery Rule

If the cause of a person’s death is not evident at the time of their death, but is discovered at a later time, this can extend the amount of time a spouse or other related party will have to file a lawsuit. In cases such as these, the statute of limitations is two years from the date the cause of death was discovered.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against Government Entities

Eligible parties will have six months to file a claim against a government entity. If the government entity denies the claim, the filing party will have an additional six months to file a lawsuit.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Involving Minors

There are special rules for wrongful death lawsuits that involve minors. If a minor files a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a parent, they will have two years from the date they reach the age of 18.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Involving Medical Malpractice

Family members will have three years from the date of the injury to file a wrongful death lawsuit, or they will have one year from the date the injury was discovered or should have been discovered.

Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Hiring a wrongful death lawyer can increase your chances of recovering the compensation you and your family are owed for the unexpected loss of a loved one. As you and your family grieve and focus on healing, a wrongful death lawyer can handle every aspect of your case, such as:

  • Investigating the accident or incident
  • Gathering evidence
  • Filing paperwork
  • Consulting with experts
  • Handling all communication with the insurance company or defense attorney
  • Negotiating with the insurance company or defense attorney
  • Filing a lawsuit if a settlement cannot be reached

When you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney, they will work tirelessly to help you recover the compensation and justice you deserve, for the devastating loss of a loved one.

Contact Us Today

After unexpectedly losing a loved one due to the negligence of another, feel free to give Lem Garcia Law wrongful death lawyers a call. We provide FREE no-obligation consultations. Our legal team is committed to giving you and your case the personal attention and respect you expect from your wrongful death lawyer.