The unexpected passing of anyone is painful, but the death of a child can be especially harrowing. Parents are often left with many questions, and here we will try to cover the most common legal questions in this quick FAQ.
Are Parents Able to Sue for the Wrongful Death of a Child?
In the state of California, parents are entitled to bring a wrongful death action when they are able to show that the child has died as a result of the wrongful conduct of another individual or a corporation.
Is There A Time Constraint On When A Wrongful Death Claim Can Be Filed?
California law states that any wrongful death action must be brought within a year from the day the child passed away. If the case is not brought within that time, then the rights of the parents are lost.
If you are going to bring a survival action (which we will touch upon in a moment), then the suit must be brought within a year of the date of the actual incident, or within six months from the date of death (whichever is longer)
If you are making claims against public entities (such as the state of California or the city of Los Angeles), you only have six months to file from the child’s date of death.
What Type of Misconduct Must Have Occurred to File a Wrongful Death Case?
The parents of the child may file a wrongful death case if:
- The death is the result of negligence
- The death is the result of intentional wrongful conduct
There are a number of scenarios from which you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Vehicular actions, toxic exposure, defective products and fatal falls are all common for children, but other scenarios can include accidental or intentional killing by weapons, defective roadway signs, and misprescription of drugs.
If the Child Survived for awhile after the Event, Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
As mentioned earlier, this is what is referred to as “survival actions”. This is different from a wrongful death action because the estate is only able to recover the economic losses incurred by the descendent from when the incident occurred and their time of death. The estate is still, however, allowed to recover punitive damages.
Losing a child for any reason is incredibly painful, but losing one because of the negligence or the wrongful conduct of another individual or institution is excruciating. At the Cifarelli Law Firm, we are devoted to protecting the rights of those who need it the most – our children. Our attorneys have experience in advocating on the behalf of children who have died far too soon.
We invite you to speak with one of our trusted Orange County child abuse and injury attorneys today at (949) 502-8600.