Wrongful Death Claims in Los Angeles: Legal Rights for Families

Tragic instances of wrongful death happen regularly in Los Angeles due to negligent drivers, unsafe workplaces, defective products, and negligent property owners. The families that victims leave behind are left with nothing more than aching hearts and more questions than answers. While a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer cannot bring your loved ones back, these professionals can help you find closure with a wrongful death claim.

Legal Rights for Families Allowed to Make a Wrongful Death Claim

Under California law, certain family members have the right to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. These include:

Surviving Spouses

If legally married at the time of their partner’s passing, a surviving spouse has the eligibility to file a wrongful death claim.

Putative Spouses

Under certain circumstances, putative spouses can also file a wrongful death claim. A putative spouse is an individual who believes in good faith that their marriage is valid and legal, although it was either void or voidable. For example, if someone unwittingly enters an invalid marriage, they may qualify as a putative spouse. If their partner dies due to someone else’s negligence, they can file a wrongful death claim.


Children, including stepchildren and those of the putative spouse, have the right to file a wrongful death claim for the loss of their parents.


Certain minors meet the criteria to file a wrongful death lawsuit. To be eligible, they must have resided in the deceased’s household for at least 180 days before their passing and been dependent on the deceased for at least half of their financial support. For instance, if a 12-year-old nephew lived with the deceased for at least 180 days and relied on them for over half of their support, they can file a wrongful death claim under California law.


In situations where the children of the deceased have already passed away, grandchildren may file a wrongful death claim for their deceased grandparent.


If the deceased’s parents have passed and the deceased had a legal guardian, the guardian has the right to file a wrongful death claim with help from a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

Domestic Partners

As per California law, registered domestic partners can pursue a wrongful death claim.

Resolving Family Disputes: Consolidating Wrongful Death Claims

Family disputes may arise over who holds the authority to file a wrongful death suit. Such conflicts may result in multiple claims being submitted on behalf of the deceased.

Nevertheless, in most cases, courts typically permit only one wrongful death lawsuit for the same individual. When different family members file multiple claims, the court often consolidates all claims into a single lawsuit for streamlined legal proceedings.

Factors in Calculating Settlement Value

Determining the settlement value in wrongful death cases involves considering various factors and ensuring fair compensation for loved ones. These factors include:

Loss of Love and Companionship: This involves the emotional impact on family members, encompassing love, companionship, and emotional support.

Lost Income and Lifetime Support: Evaluating the financial loss due to the deceased’s income and support over their expected lifetime.

Medical Expenses: This includes reimbursement for medical costs incurred after the incident.

Funeral Expenses: This addresses the financial burden of funeral expenses.

Value of Household Contributions: Recognizing the worth of the deceased’s contributions to the household.

Other Pertinent Considerations: Accounting for any additional relevant items impacting the family’s well-being.

These considerations contribute to a comprehensive evaluation, ensuring a just settlement that accounts for the diverse losses experienced by surviving family members.

Contact The Shahbaz Firm for a Consultation about your Wrongful Death Claim

If you find yourself navigating the complexities of a wrongful death case, contact Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Danish Shahbaz at The Shahbaz Firm for a consultation. Get rightful compensation and justice for your lost loved one. 

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Danish Shahbaz
163 South Avenue 24 Suite 202, Los Angeles, CA.
(213) 652-3673
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