The loss of a loved one due to an accident can be devastating, particularly
if you believe it could have been prevented. Family and friends often
have many unanswered questions about what to do next.
In some cases, you may be able to obtain compensation for your loss through
a wrongful death lawsuit. A
wrongful death occurs when a person is killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct
of another person, company, or entity.
In California, wrongful death statutes allow family members to bring a
wrongful death lawsuit. However, when there are many surviving loved ones
or complicated family relationships, it can sometimes be difficult to
determine who is entitled to bring the suit.
As San Diego injury attorneys, we are also often asked if domestic partners
are entitled to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The answer is yes. Under
California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 377.60, the victim’s
surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, or grandchildren may assert
an action. Under the statute, “domestic partner” means a person
who, at the time of the decedent’s death, was the domestic partner
of the decedent in a registered domestic partnership.
If there are no surviving relatives, the persons, including the surviving
spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the
decedent by intestate succession may bring the lawsuit. The decedent’s
personal representative—the person appointed to settle their estate—may
also bring the wrongful death action on the family members’ behalf.