Wrongful Death Claims: Common Misconceptions

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The loss of a loved one is devastating. Suddenly, your life is thrust into an unexpected chapter and you are dealing with funeral arrangements, medical bills, and grief. If the negligence of another has resulted in the death of your loved one, you may have a wrongful death claim. There are many misconceptions about filing a wrongful death claim.


  1. “I’m Already Receiving Life Insurance Benefits”


If the decedent had the foresight to take out life insurance policies, you are in a better situation than those who did not. Life insurance policies offer a single lump sum payment of the decedent’s plan and do not account for the future lost income, pain and suffering, or other medical bills that arise.


  1. “This Could Have Happened to Anyone!”


When dealing with the death of a loved one, you might not want to blame anyone for the death, or you think that there was no malicious intent. However, when someone’s death is the result of another’s negligence, there is a potential wrongful death claim.


  1. “I Can’t File the Wrongful Death Claim”


Under the CCP §377.61, there are three groups of individuals that may bring a wrongful death claim of the decedent:

  1. Surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, issue of deceased children. In the case of no surviving issue of the decedent, those who would take the property of the decedent by intestate succession can assert the claim.
  2. An individual who is a dependent of the decedent, a putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents. A putative spouse is someone who believes in good faith that there is a valid marriage, but the marriage is void.
  3. A minor that lived with the decedent for the previous 180 days and was depended on the decedent for one-half or more of the dependent’s income.


  1. “This Will Take Too Long”


Yes, the process of filing a claim and seeing it through to the end can be lengthy. However, that is what your attorney is for. Your attorney will work hard to get the compensation that you are entitled to. The length of the case depends on the complexity of the issues. Additionally, many cases settle before they go to trial.


  1. “I Don’t Want to Be Greedy”


You may be hesitant to file a lawsuit because you do not want to profit off of the loss of a loved one. There is a large misconception that people who file lawsuits are greedy and just want to make money. However, if your loved one has died because of the negligence of another, you have a legitimate claim and can be compensated for it.


  1. “I Can Hire an Attorney Later”


Waiting to hire an attorney can be dangerous to the success of your claim. Attorneys keep track of California’s statute of limitations, evidence, and every other detail in a case.

If you are considering filing a wrongful death suit for the loss of a loved one, The Sargent Firm Injury Lawyers can help. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys will handle your case and work to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

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