The death of a child due to the negligent or intentional acts of others is something no mother or father wishes to experience in their lifetime. The hopes and dream parents have for their children can be dashed in an instant resulting from an auto accident, act violence, or medical malpractice. The state of California recognizes the right to grieving parents to file a wrongful death cause of action against individuals who caused the death of their child. Below is important information regarding the wrongful death lawsuits in the state of California. If you have any further legal questions after reading this article feel free to reach out to us by contacting our law office at (888) 649-7166.
Standing of Parent to Sue for the Death of Their Child:
A wrongful death cause of action is valid when an individual dies due to the legally established fault of another person. Generally the common laws system did not allow for wrongful death lawsuit since only the injured party can bring forth a tort (personal injury cause of action), and in these instances the individual is no longer able to do so since he or she has died. Over the past century various jurisdictions across the United States, including California, have enacted wrongful death law statutes, permitting certain individuals the right to file a claim in civil court for the death of a relative. Before the 1992 reform of California’s wrongful death act the courts gave standing to persons who would be entitled to succeed to the property of the decedent by intestate succession. The 1992 modification gave standing to decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and issue of deceased children, or, if none, to those who would take by intestate succession, which would include the parent of the deceased. The language of the 1992 revision means that parents are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a child.
Can a Parent Sue if Their Child is Married – Has a Surviving Spouse:
An significant issue which arose due to the 1992 revision of the wrongful death act regards the filing of wrongful death lawsuits by parents of children who were married, or had a domestic partner. In some cases defendants have argued that the provision means that if there is a surviving spouse or domestic partner, then no one else, including the parents of the deceased, have a right to file a wrongful death claim in the court of law. However most court opinions have disregarded defendant arguments to that effect. In fact parents of deceased children who are married but do not have children of their own have standing in the court of law to file a wrongful death claim. More information: California Wrongful Death Laws CA Civ Code 377.60-377.62