Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

Oceanside, Escondido, San Marcos, Carlsbad

If your loved one has recently died because of another person’s negligence or recklessness, you may be wondering whether or not you have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Our experienced San Diego wrongful death attorneys at Rubinstein Law can help you determine whether or not you have a valid claim. Call us today at 760.804.2790 to schedule a free case evaluation at our San Marcos office.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?

Generally speaking, you must be an immediate family member of the deceased individual in order to file a wrongful death claim. This includes:

  • Spouses or domestic partners of the deceased
  • The deceased individual’s children
  • Dependent parents of the deceased

The state of California allows for certain exceptions to this rule, such as an unrelated minor who has lived in the deceased individual’s household for at least 180 days, and was dependent on him or her for at least one-half of their support. Additionally, under certain circumstances, siblings and other family members may also be eligible to file a claim.

It is important to note that you must file a claim within two years of your loved one’s death as there is a statute of limitations on wrongful death cases within the state of California.

Main Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

In order for your wrongful death case to be successful, you must be able to prove the following four points:

  1. The death was caused either in whole or in part by the defendant.
  2. The death occurred as a direct result of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness.
  3. The death had a direct impact on you, and/or other surviving family members who qualify to receive compensation through a wrongful death case.
  4. The death resulted in financial damages (e.g. medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income, etc).

This is merely a general outline, but it can be used to judge whether or not you have the basic framework of a successful wrongful death case.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Negligence is the foundation of all wrongful death cases. In legal terms, “negligence” is defined as the failure to use reasonable care in a given situation. For example, a motorist driving recklessly or failing to obey traffic laws is considered negligent.

In order to prove that the defendant in a wrongful death case was negligent, you must first establish that they were acting carelessly, and then show a direct link between their lack of care and your loved one’s death. Proving this can be complicated, requiring a thorough investigation into your family member’s accident. Strong evidence, expert witnesses, and the skill of an experienced wrongful death attorney are needed to get you the compensation your family deserves.

If you have further questions about wrongful death law in California, please contact The Rubinstein Law Group today or call 760.804.2790 today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced San Diego wrongful death attorneys. We can help you fight for the justice and fair compensation you deserve.

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