Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s The Avengers would be familiar with Tony Stark’s famous line: If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we’ll avenge it.”
In that moment, Tony’s conviction against Loki’s actions could resound with anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident. When the damage done is irreversible, sometimes, the only way to gain closure is to seek recompense from the legal system, and perhaps help prevent such a misfortune from befalling other people in the future. It’s not quite the superhero theatrics in the movies, but it’s still a way to “avenge” the people who have been taken from you too early.
To go through the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit, here are some things you need to know.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Legal professionals like those at Haffner Law say California law entitles certain family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court, depending on the circumstances.
Legal spouses, California-registered domestic partners, and the children of a deceased loved one have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Parents of the deceased may also sue for the wrongful death of their child, for as long as the child does not have his or her own children.
Furthermore, common-law spouses and step-children may bring a wrongful death lawsuit to court as long as they were dependent on the deceased loved one at the time of death.
What counts as wrongful death?
State law considers a variety of incidents in wrongful death lawsuits. The most common are medical malpractice and work-related deaths.
Intentional acts of murder, manslaughter, and recklessness are justifiable grounds for a lawsuit — given that it is not for self-defense. Negligent conduct (e.g. reckless driving), unsafe products (e.g. poorly designed vehicles), and the failure to maintain safe premises (e.g. electrocution) also count.
In some states, California included, you may file for a wrongful death lawsuit with a claim that extreme circumstances that caused emotional distress, which lead to suicide.
Accepting the untimely loss of your loved one is admittedly difficult. To seek justice for it, however, you don’t need any superpowers. What you need is to stay as calm and clear-headed as possible and file a strong lawsuit process.