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What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and Who Can Make a Claim


Losing a loved one is one of the most painful life events someone would ever go through. Unfortunately, sometimes the death of our family members is caused by malpractice, negligence, or neglect. This leaves those left behind with a lot of unanswered questions, deep sadness, and unexplainable anger. It is essential that if your family member has passed unintentionally through the negligent actions of another, that you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in San Francisco, like Tanya Gomerman. While monetary compensation can never replace your loved one, it can help cover the costs you will have to endure after their untimely death.


What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim brought against a defendant who has caused the death of someone else through negligence, malpractice, or intentionally caused harm. If the victim had lived, they would have had a personal injury lawsuit, but since they have passed away, a wrongful death claim provides their estate with recourse.


Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under California law, there are a few parties associated with the deceased person that can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. These people include:

  • A surviving spouse

  • A surviving domestic partner

  • A surviving child

If there is no spouse and no children, then a parent or sibling entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession may file a claim.


Two Types of Wrongful Death Claims

In California, there are two types of wrongful death claims, a conventional wrongful death suit, and a survival action. Conventional wrongful death suits would provide the surviving family members with compensation for loss of support, loss of services, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of companionship/consortium. However, punitive damages would not be allowed under this type of claim.


Your attorney might recommend a survival action if the deceased person did not die immediately from their injuries. This would allow the estate of the decedent to collect what the deceased would have gotten from filing a personal injury lawsuit: medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly punitive damages.


If you have lost a family member due to negligence or intentional harm, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. Contact the Law Offices of Tanya Gomerman for more information. Call (415) 545-8608 to schedule your FREE attorney consultation.

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