According to California law, only certain people are allowed to file a lawsuit for the recovery of money following the intentional or negligent death of another. If you don’t qualify under the statute, you will most likely not be authorized under the law to bring a lawsuit. But who can file a wrongful death claim?
The surviving spouse usually has the highest right to pursue the wrongful death claim if the decedent was married. If the parties were in the midst of a divorce, however, then the court may appoint another family member to bring the lawsuit.
The children of the decedent have the right to pursue the wrongful death claim if there’s not a surviving spouse. The court will appoint a guardian of the children for the purpose of making a wrongful death claim if the children are minors.
The parents of the decedent have the right to bring a wrongful death claim if the decedent is a minor or unmarried without children. The primary custodial parent has the right to bring the case if the parents are divorced and the child is a minor.
If the decedent left a will and named an executor, that person has the right to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
If the person died intestate (without a will), anyone may ask the court to be appointed as administrator of the estate and then file suit in the name of the estate. If more than one person applies, the court will appoint the most qualified individual after considering factors such as the relationship between the decedent and applicant and the abilities of the applicant.
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, contact Jacoby and Meyers at (888) 522-6291.