If there is no surviving person in the deceased person’s line of descent, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession”; that can include the deceased person’s parents, or the deceased person’s siblings, depending on who is living at the time of the deceased person’s death.
In addition to the above-identified individuals, the following people can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California if they can show they were financially dependent on the deceased:
“Damages” are the plaintiff’s claimed losses in a personal injury case. To understand the scope of damages that might be available to a surviving family member in a California wrongful death lawsuit, we can look to the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI). Judges use these forms to educate jurors on the specific laws and legal concepts they’ll be applying during deliberations after a civil trial.
Specifically, CACI No. 3921 (Wrongful Death of an Adult) says that damages in a wrongful death case fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages can include:
Get more details on damages that might be available in a wrongful death case.
(Note: There’s no universal cap on damages in a California wrongful death lawsuit, but the state’s statutory limit on medical malpractice damages would apply to a wrongful death claim stemming from a health care provider’s error.)