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Fatal Truck Accident: Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Traffic accidents involving large trucks can cause life-threatening and catastrophic injuries. Roughly three-fourths of the injuries and deaths sustained in large truck accidents are people in other vehicles. For the families who lose a loved one in a truck accident, the emotional and financial impacts can be overwhelming.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit does not bring back your loved one. However, with the help of a California wrongful death attorney, you can seek justice for your loved one and your family. You can fight to hold the parties responsible for your family member’s death financially liable for damages caused by the death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

California’s wrongful death laws specify which family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit. According to California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60, the following family members may be legally entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • A surviving spouse, domestic partner, or putative spouse
  • The deceased person’s children
  • Grandchildren of the deceased person, if their parents are deceased
  • Parents and siblings 
  • Grandparents
  • Minor children of the household who were financially dependent upon the deceased, including stepchildren
  • Other individuals who would be able to inherit from the person’s estate under California’s intestate laws

The priority of who may file a wrongful death lawsuit can be confusing. The fact that only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed can also complicate matters. Consulting an experienced wrongful death lawyer in California can help avoid mistakes that could jeopardize the recovery of compensation for family members. 

What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The compensation available in a wrongful death lawsuit is set by law. Survivors are entitled to receive specific damages for the death of a family member. Damages that the family might receive for a wrongful death claim include:

  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income and financial support that the deceased would have contributed to the family had they survived
  • Loss of comfort, love, affection, care, companionship, moral support, protection, and society
  • Loss of guidance and training
  • Loss of sexual relations with a spouse

There is no compensation for the grief, sorrow, and suffering experienced by family members. 

Placing a value on a person’s life is impossible. The family’s loss cannot be measured in monetary terms. However, the judicial system cannot undo the death. The only way to make the family “whole” again is to provide financial compensation for the losses caused by their family member’s death.

Loss of income, contributions to household services, and other economic losses are estimated with the assistance of economists and financial experts. There is not a standard method of valuing the noneconomic damages caused by a wrongful death. The jury determines how much to award the family members. They can award any amount that they believe is reasonable based on the case facts.

Get Help with a Wrongful Death Lawsuit From a California Personal Injury Attorney

Most wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of the person’s death. However, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible because there are exceptions to the statute of limitations under specific circumstances. 

If someone you love was killed because of another party’s wrongful acts or negligence, call our California personal injury attorneys to discuss filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.