All Heirs Must Be Joined in a California Wrongful Death Claim
When you untimely lose a loved one due to the reckless or negligent actions of another party, you may be entitled to money damages by filing a wrongful death action. If there is more than one heir to the deceased victim, all parties will need to band together to pursue one California wrongful death lawsuit.
California’s “One-Action Rule”
The reason why the heirs of California residents who die in fatal accidents need to join together and file one suit is that the state adheres to the “one-action rule.” Just as the title suggests, only one claim can be brought as a result of a wrongful death. As such, claimants cannot individually bring lawsuits.
Issues With the “One-Action Rule”
The question becomes what happens when one heir files a wrongful death claim without notifying other qualified heirs. The courts addressed this issue in the Moody v. Belford, in which the claimant settled with the insurance company without providing the names to the other qualified heirs.
The California Court of Appeal ultimately ruled that the one-action rule only applies when the first claim involved an actual lawsuit. In other words, qualified heirs are not barred from bringing their own wrongful death claims when another heir reached an out-of-court settlement with the insurance carrier with filing a lawsuit.
Call an Experienced Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney
Identifying who is a qualified heir is an important step if you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or careless actions of another individual. As such, it is imperative to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney Orange County CA to help you understand your options and make sure you get the compensation to which you are entitled.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys, call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas at 1-888-848-5084. We are dedicated to getting you the full compensation that you deserve.