Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Your Rights If Your Loved One Was Killed Due to a Wrongful Act or Neglect

If your loved one was killed because of another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct, you might be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Under California law, only certain people may file and benefit from a wrongful death claim, including the decedent’s surviving spouse and children. 

At Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP, we represent individuals who have lost a loved one in a wrongful death case. Our lawyers are experienced trial attorneys who will not rest until you receive the best possible outcome in your case. If your family member died because of another person’s wrongful act, contact our office at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

According to the California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60, several parties may bring a cause of action based on wrongful death. However, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney to determine if you have a valid claim for damages. 

Parties who can file a wrongful death claim in California: 

  • The decedent’s personal representative
  • A surviving spouse
  • A domestic partner
  • The decedent’s children
  • Issue of deceased children

If there is not a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or surviving issue of the decedent, then the people who would be entitled to the property through intestate succession may file a claim. 

What If the Parents of the Decedent Are Deceased?

If the decedent’s parents are deceased but would have been able to file a wrongful death claim, then the decedent’s legal guardians may bring a cause of action. 

Can a Putative Spouse File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A putative spouse is a spouse who entered into an invalid marriage believing in good faith that the marriage was valid. Under California law, a putative spouse may bring a wrongful death claim if they can prove that they were dependent on the decedent.

In addition to the putative spouse, the children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, and parents,  may also bring a wrongful death claim if they relied on the decedent.

Can an Unrelated Minor File a Wrongful Death Claim?

State law also allows a minor who had resided with the decedent for the 180 prior to their death and was dependent (one-half or more) on the decedent for support, may be entitled to bring a cause of action. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in California

If your loved one died because of the neglect or wrongful act of another person, you might be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. You need to speak to a lawyer about your case. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
At Levin & Nalbandyan, there are never any fees unless we win. We strive to provide high-quality representation for all of our clients. We are experienced trial lawyers who will fight for you and your family. Contact our office at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free case evaluation. You should never have to settle for less than your case is worth. Call now to get started.




If your claim has been denied or your attorney has decided to give up, reach out to our firm for a second opinion.