When your loved one has died because of the wrongful conduct of another person, the emotional devastation can be paralyzing, but it’s important to take timely action to protect your rights. But you’ll also face financial challenges, particularly if your loved one provided most or all of the financial support for your family. What types of damages can you expect to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?
The California wrongful death laws differentiate between wrongful death claims and survivorship claims. A wrongful death action seeks to compensate individuals who qualify for any losses suffered as a result of the accidental death. A survivorship claim seeks damages for the estate of the deceased.
In a wrongful death claim, an individual may seek compensation for:
- The loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided. Damages will typically be calculated based on the length of time the person would reasonably have expected to receive support, up to retirement age. Typically, the damage award will represent a present value of the amount of support that would have been provided.
- The value of household services, such as cooking and cleaning, which would have been received.
- The value of any other gifts or benefits the decedent would have provided
- The loss of love, companionship, care, comfort, protection, assistance, affection, moral support and society
- The loss of guidance and training, if the decedent was a parent
- The loss of consortium, or intimate relations, if the decedent was a spouse
- Any funeral or burial expenses incurred
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