Wrongful Death Claims: Who Can File?

Wrongful death claims are civil actions seeking money damages rather than criminal penalties. They arise when a person dies through an intentional act or the carelessness and negligence of another person or legal entity. Like any other state’s wrongful death law, California limits who can file a wrongful death claim. California’s wrongful death statute is complicated. It can be found at section 337.60 of the California Code of Civil Procedure.

Who Can Bring the Wrongful Death Claim?

Attorney Reid Winthrop at the Winthrop Law Group is a Newport Beach CA insurance dispute lawyer. He advises that the following persons are allowed to bring a California wrongful death claim:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner.
  • The decedent’s surviving children.
  • If none of the above, “anybody who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.” Those people might include parents, brothers or sisters.
  • Anybody who was financially dependent on the decedent at the time of his or her death.


Survival Claims

These are brought as a separate claim. Do not confuse wrongful death claims with survival claims. Survival claims are brought by the decedent’s estate. In these claims, money damages are also sought as compensation for damages. For example, medical bills incurred by the decedent in connection with the accident between the date of the accident and date of death would be included in a survival claim.

The general rule is that California allows two years from the date of a decedent’s death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a strict rule, and there are very few exceptions to it. Evidence can disappear, recollections of events can get foggy and witnesses can vanish. You’ll want to speak with Newport Beach CA insurance dispute lawyer Reid Winthrop at the Winthrop Law Group as soon as possible about any wrongful death claim. Do so at your earliest possible convenience.

Winthrop Law Group attorney Reid Winthrop has successfully negotiated and litigated many cases on behalf of insurance companies and uses that experience to do so for the insured and policyholders. Though insurance is a very complex matter, it is at its core an agreement – a contract.

Most simply put, a contract is a legally-enforceable document that explains the offer and duties between parties. It must contain an offer, consideration, and acceptance (and be of legal subject matter). All involved are agreeing to adhere to the terms as spelled out in the contract. Unfortunately, there are times when one involved party goes back on a term.

Enforcing a contract with padded jargon can be daunting and trying to enforce a vague contract can be nearly impossible. If not handled appropriately, a waiver or unfavorable mediator decision could put you in an un-fixable bind. It is even possible to enter into an agreement without being aware – a text message can be binding if you promise to perform in exchange for another’s performance and that other upheld their end of the agreement.

If you are the one wishing to enforce the contract, Winthrop Law Group attorney review of the document will inform you whether or not you are likely to win a favorable decision. The worst-case scenario of suing over a contract is to learn that it favors the other party, and you now owe the legal fees accrued. Be sure to consult an attorney before taking any action. Newport Beach insurance dispute attorney advice can circumvent such a dilemma.

An expert Newport Beach insurance dispute attorney, Reid Winthrop will first assess if something may be done. If so, we will see to it that the insurance company (or other style of party, as applicable) upholds their end of the agreement, or pay otherwise. Contact our office to schedule your confidential case consultation today.

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