What qualifies as wrongful death?

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as wrongful death?

Under California law, certain family members — known as survivors — can bring a wrongful death claim if a loved one dies due to the negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongful act of another person or entity. A wrongful death may include:

  • Car accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Drowning
  • Assault and battery
  • Elder abuse or neglect
  • Medical malpractice
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Murder or manslaughter

In addition, if a person died after being injured by a dangerous or defective product, their survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Similarly, if an individual dies from a dog bit or mauling, their survivors can pursue a wrongful death claim.

California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 allows only specified family members to file a claim for wrongful death. This includes:

  • Surviving spouses;
  • Domestic partners;
  • Children;
  • Grandchildren (if the deceased person’s children are also deceased);
  • Other minor children, such as stepchildren, who were dependent on the deceased person for at least 50% of their financial support;
  • Parents, if they were dependent on the deceased person; and
  • Anyone else who would be entitled to the deceased person’s property under California’s laws of intestate succession (how property passes when a person dies without a will).

These survivors — or their personal representatives — are permitted to file a lawsuit for wrongful death under California law.

Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas Located at
8647 Haven Avenue Suite 200, Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas Logo Phone: 909-982-0707