Who Can File an Orange County Wrongful Death Action?
“Wrongful death” occurs when a person dies due to the carelessness, negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct of another person. Its effects can be devastating to the family of the deceased, who often feel intense grief at the loss of their loved one.
The enormous emotional toll of the death of a loved one hits right away, but the financial impact of a wrongful death is not always readily apparent. Of course, no amount of money can replace a loved one, but an experienced Orange County wrongful death lawyer will at least help to lessen the financial burden that the death imposed.
Any death hurts many people-friends, family, and the community. However, only a person named in California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60 can file an action for wrongful death. This includes the surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and issue of deceased children (direct descendants of children who have died). An action may also be filed by stepchildren, dependent minors, and dependent parents of the deceased person.
If there is no one who falls into one of these categories, the persons who would be entitled to the property of the deceased person by intestate succession may assert a cause of action. (Intestate succession is the order in which a deceased person’s property is distributed if he or she dies without a will.) This can include parents, siblings, children of siblings, grandparents, and next of kin.
A person who believed that he or she was married to the deceased person but was not due to a technicality (if the deceased person had never divorced from a previous spouse, for example) may sue for wrongful death, as may a child who depended on the deceased person for more than half of his or her support and who lived in the deceased person’s house for at least 180 days prior to the person’s death.
If you believe you fall into one of these categories, you should contact an experienced Orange County wrongful death lawyer who can protect your rights and make sure you get the financial help you need. For a free evaluation of your case, please call Samer Habbas at (888) 848-5084.