Losing a loved one in an avoidable accident is one of the most difficult things that any family can ever endure. A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of legal claim that allows grieving family members to seek justice and financial compensation. These claims fall under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60. You may be wondering: What type of compensation can you recover through a wrongful death lawsuit in California? The answer depends on a wide range of different factors—though you may be eligible to seek financial support for both economic and non-economic losses. In this article, our Stockton wrongful death attorneys provide a more thorough overview of the damages that you can recover in a wrongful death claim in California.
California Wrongful Death Claims: Economic Damages
Similar to other types of injury and accident lawsuits, wrongful death claims generally start with an accounting of the economic damages. Through a wrongful death lawsuit in Stockton, CA, a grieving family can seek financial compensation for the full extent of their economic losses. Among other types of economic damages, you and your family may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Unreimbursed Medical Costs: Your family may receive medical bills related to your loved one’s fatal accident. All out-of-pocket medical costs should be reimbursed.
- Funeral & Burial Expenses: California allows grieving families to seek compensation for the full cost of funeral & burial expenses. Your family should receive financial support to ensure that a funeral and burial is covered.
- Loss of Direct Financial Support: You may also be entitled to compensation for the loss of direct financial support. For example, a widow/widower who relied on their spouse’s income may be entitled to compensation for that loss.
- Loss of Economic Benefits: You can also seek financial compensation for the loss of certain economic benefits, such as the loss of health insurance coverage.
Unfortunately, defendants and insurers are not always eager to pay out full financial compensation. To maximize your family’s recovery, economic losses must be well-documented. If you have any questions about the types of economic damages that your family can recover in a wrongful death claim, contact an experienced Stockton wrongful death attorney for help with your case.
California Wrongful Death Claims: Non-Economic Damages
Families have a right to seek compensation for their non-economic, intangible losses in a wrongful death claim. In general, the non-economic losses—the heartbreak and the grief—far outweigh any direct out-of-pocket losses. Although money can never make up for the devastating loss, it is one of the best things that the law can do—and families need financial support. Among other types of non-economic damages, you and your family may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Loss of Society and Companionship: You may be able to recover compensation for the loss of society and companionship. This being the time you would have spent and the emotional support you have received from your family member had the fatal accident never occurred.
- Loss of Affection: All grieving family members who are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim in California have the right to seek financial compensation for loss of affection. Losing a loved one can be a truly heartbreaking thing. This loss should be properly compensated.
- Loss of Training and guidance: A surviving child(ren) may be able to recover financial support for loss of training and guidance. Most often, this type of compensation is awarded when the victim had minor children.
- Loss of Sexual relations: A surviving spouse also has the right to seek compensation for the loss of sexual relations. California recognizes that the loss of intimacy causes genuine hardship for a spouse.
Sadly, big corporations and large insurance companies can make the wrongful death claims process difficult for grieving families. In too many cases, they dramatically undervalue the scope of a family’s non-economic damages. If you have questions about recovering non-economic damages through a wrongful death claim, a top-rated Stockton, CA wrongful death lawyer can help.
Additional Compensation May Be Available Through a Survival Action Claim
In California, a grieving family may also be entitled to recover financial compensation through a survival action claim. While they can be filed at the same time, there are important differences between a wrongful death claim and a survival action claim. A wrongful death claim allows close family members to seek compensation for their personal losses, both economic and non-economic. A survival action claim allows family members to seek the compensation that the victim could have recovered through a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived the accident. Some additional types of compensation that may be available through a survival action claim:
- Out-of-pocket medical bills incurred by the victim;
- Other financial costs incurred by the victim; and
- Financial relief for the pain and suffering incurred by the victim following the accident but before their death.
There are strict rules and regulations in place regarding survival action claims. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.30, these claims must be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. Nonetheless, any compensation recovered through a survival action lawsuit filed in California still goes to the surviving family member. Remember, a family does not have to choose one or the other. It may be appropriate to bring both a survival action claim and wrongful death lawsuit. If you have any specific questions or concerns about survival action claims, an experienced Stockton, CA wrongful death lawyer can help.
Contact Our Stockton Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton wrongful death attorneys are passionate, reliable advocates for grieving families. If you have any questions about the compensation you can recover in a wrongful death claim or survival action claim, we are here to help. Call us at 209-267-4589 or get in touch with us online to set up your free consultation. We handle wrongful death claims in Stockton and throughout the region, including in Sacramento, Tracy, and Sutter Creek.