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Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Stockton, California: Who Can Seek Compensation?

Life is filled with tough and awful experiences, especially the loss of a loved one. If you lost a loved one in an intentional act or accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide you with the monetary relief and justice you deserve. 

Wrongful death can result from negligence in accidents, intentional acts, medical malpractice, and crimes. The liability of the defendant is expressed through monetary compensation paid to the surviving family member of the decedent. But because bringing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complex process, you need an experienced Stockton wrongful death attorney to handle your case. This attorney will help your family collect the evidence necessary to strengthen your case against the party responsible for the death of your loved one. 

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Stockton, California, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or kids of the deceased person can sue for wrongful death. Other parties who can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death include a minor not related but who have lived in the household of the decedent for the past 180 days. 

If no one is left in the deceased person’s family line of descent, anyone with rights to the property by intestate succession such as live parent and siblings can bring a lawsuit. Also, surviving members of the family can file a strict liability lawsuit where the defendant should be liable for the injuries sustained even if not at fault or negligent. 

Damages that Can Be Recovered in a Lawsuit

In Stockton, wrongful death cases compensate a decedent’s heirs for the value of support they expected to get from the decedent. Often, settlements are paid in the form of a lump sum or part or as several payments spread over a certain period. Damages that surviving family members can recover include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost earnings, lost financial support, lost companionship, and lost moral support. 

No specific standard decides how much damages can be obtained in a wrongful death case. A jury can consider any reasonable amount depending on the presented evidence. In addition, heirs cannot get punitive damages, which are sometimes awarded along with actual damages. These damages serve as a punishment at the discretion of the court if the behavior of the defendant is quite harmful. 

Wrongful death cases in Stockton have statutes of limitations for when they are filed. When such time limits end, family members lose their right to seek legal claims.