Losing someone dear to you – a parent, a spouse, or other family member – is heartbreaking regardless of the circumstances. But when it is the result of a car accident that could have been avoided if the other driver had only been more careful, that magnifies the devastation. While nothing can bring back your loved one or take away the pain of their loss, a qualified car accident lawyer can pursue compensation to help you afford their final expenses and ease financial burdens stemming from a wrongful death, along with less tangible but equally profound losses like emotional pain and suffering.
What qualifies as a wrongful death in Los Angeles?
In Los Angeles and throughout California, the death of a person due to the wrongful act or neglect of another is considered a wrongful death, and as such, civil action can be taken on the person’s behalf. The following would be considered wrongful deaths with regards to car accidents:
- A driver high on opiates loses control of their car on the freeway and collides with another, killing the driver in the second vehicle
- Someone reading a text runs through a stop sign and slams into the side of a car with legal right-of-way, killing the person in the passenger’s seat
- A person leaves a party so drunk they can barely stand. While driving home, they turn down a one-way street traveling in the wrong direction and collide head-on with another driver going in the correct direction, killing that driver and their passenger.
Who can pursue a wrongful death civil suit?
Not just anyone can claim they are entitled to compensation following the wrongful death of a family member. Only the following relatives of the decedent have legal standing to pursue a wrongful death civil case according to the California statute:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- Grandchildren (if the children are also deceased)
- Anyone entitled to inherit property from the deceased according to California’s estate distribution laws or intestate succession (i.e., if there is no living spouse, domestic partner, or child). Examples include the decedent’s parents, siblings, and others named as dependents but not related by blood
- If they can prove dependence on the decedent, a putative spouse (someone whose marriage to the deceased may not have been formally documented, but was commonly accepted) and stepchildren
- Any minor who at the time of the wrongful death resided for the previous 180 days in the deceased’s household and was dependent on the decedent for half or more of their financial maintenance
Contact a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer today
We understand how hard it is to lose someone you loved to the carelessness or negligence of another, and that the last thing you need is to struggle financially during this difficult time. If you want to pursue compensation for the financial and intangible losses caused by the death of a family member in a car accident, please contact auto accident attorney Scott J. Corwin at (310) 683-2300.