WE'RE AVAILABLE 24/7 (888) 500-5000

How to Determine if You Have a Wrongful Death Claim

Torem & Associates

Losing a loved one is undeniably one of life’s most challenging experiences. When that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, the pain can be compounded by a sense of injustice. In such cases, families may have the option to pursue a wrongful death claim. However, determining whether you have grounds for such a claim can be complex. This guide highlights the key considerations in assessing your eligibility for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to a situation where a person dies as a result of another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. These actions range from medical malpractice and automobile accidents to product defects and criminal behavior. In essence, a wrongful death claim seeks to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and provide compensation to the surviving family members for their losses.

Key Factors in Determining Eligibility

  • Establishing Negligence or Wrongful Conduct: The first step in assessing a potential wrongful death claim is to determine whether the deceased’s death was caused by another party’s negligence or wrongful conduct. This often requires a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident. For instance, if a loved one died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the driver’s intoxication and reckless behavior would likely constitute negligence.
  • Legal Standing of the Claimants: Not everyone has the legal standing to file a wrongful death claim. Typically, immediate family members such as spouses, children, and parents are eligible to pursue such claims. In California, putative spouses, extended family members or dependents may also have standing. For example, grandchildren and minors who are dependent on the decedent for 50 percent of their financial support,
  • Demonstrating Damages: In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs must demonstrate that they have suffered tangible damages as a result of their loved one’s death. These damages can include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Gathering documentation and evidence to support these damages is crucial for a successful claim.
  • Statute of Limitations: Like any legal claim, wrongful death claims are subject to laws of limitations, which in California are two years from the date of death. These statutes set a time limit within which a claim must be filed after the death occurred or when it was discovered that the death was wrongful. Failing to file within the applicable statute of limitations can result in the claim being barred, so acting promptly is essential. The deadline is different in a claim against the government, which is six months and three years in cases of medical malpractice. 

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

Navigating the complexities of a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, especially while grieving the loss of a loved one. However, understanding the key factors involved in assessing your eligibility can help you make informed decisions about your next steps. If you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death claim, seeking legal guidance from experienced attorneys like those at Torem & Associates is crucial. 

Call Torem & Associates

Call (888) 500-5000 or (310) 276-7878 or reach out online to schedule a free case review. We can advocate for your rights and help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. While no amount of money can ever replace the loss of a loved one, holding the responsible party accountable can provide a sense of closure and financial security for the future.


Free Consultation

Call (888) 500-5000 to learn about legal options