Damages in Rancho Mirage Wrongful Death Cases

A sudden accident or illness can rob you of a loved one and force you into handling an estate, expenses, and your family in the most difficult of times. Legal recourse and compensation might be the farthest things from your mind, but you should still consider your legal options.

After a loved one passes, their contributions to your family—both financial and emotional—also end, leaving you without that source of support. Damages in Rancho Mirage wrongful death cases can replace that support by forcing the responsible party to pay compensation for your loss. Reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney at Walter Clark Legal Group to learn more about your legal options.

What Damages Can You Get in a Wrongful Death Action?

Wrongful death actions are possible when a person or entity causes another person’s death through their own action or inaction. Usually, this is through negligence but can include intentional or reckless actions or omissions. Even criminal acts can lead to wrongful death suits in civil court brought by a victim’s family.

Understanding available damages for wrongful death can help surviving family members consider whether to bring an action or not. In a typical wrongful death suit, damages are considered compensatory and fall into the categories of economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages include financial amounts, such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost financial support of the deceased
  • Lost value of household support and services

Non-economic damages capture the less tangible losses, such as:

  • Loss of protection
  • Loss of moral support
  • Loss of love and companionship

Unlike in survival actions—a different kind of lawsuit filed by a deceased person’s estate—the pain and suffering of the deceased are not included as non-economic damages.

Punitive damages are rare in wrongful death cases in Rancho Mirage, except for a criminal defendant already convicted of a felony homicide. Instead of using punitive damages to punish and deter certain behaviors, California law favors compensation for the loss of a loved one as described through economic and non-economic damages.

Other Things to Know About Wrongful Death Claims

To file a wrongful death case seeking damages, individuals in Rancho Mirage must meet certain criteria.

California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 lists the individuals permitted to bring a wrongful death action:

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • A child or issue of a deceased child
  • If there are no living descendants or children, anyone who could inherit under California’s intestate succession (other relatives)
  • A minor living with the deceased for six months before death who relied on the deceased for more than half of their support

Only these individuals can bring a wrongful death action, as this action is brought on behalf of the deceased rather than on behalf of the person bringing the suit.

In addition, California’s statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of death, as outlined in California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1. Although that may feel like a long time, two years can pass by quickly when managing a loved one’s estate, planning a funeral, and grieving. Those who fail to file a wrongful death case before the two-year mark will lose that legal option and possibly any opportunity to recover compensation for their loved one’s death.

Learn More About Wrongful Death Damages from a Rancho Mirage Attorney

No one but you and your family can make the decision to bring a wrongful death action, and the possible damages you could recover may factor into how you make that decision. If you choose to bring suit, you will need the skills and knowledge of an experienced lawyer on your side.

An attorney at Walter Clark Legal Group can guide you through the available damages in Rancho Mirage wrongful death cases and tell you more about what forms of compensation could result from your specific circumstances. Our lawyers want to support you during this especially trying time and ensure you get the legal advice you need. Call to set up an appointment with one of our compassionate legal professionals today.

Walter Clark Legal Group

Walter Clark Legal Group