(Last Updated on: June 9, 2023 )

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death In California

The unexpected death of a loved one or family member can be a tragic and devastating experience. Trusting your case to an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you achieve peace and justice.

When a loved one dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, family members may have the right to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death cases can arise from a variety of accidents including car crashes, product liability cases, swimming pool accidents, boating accidents, manslaughter, and medical malpractice.

When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, time is of the essence. Usually, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the person’s passing. This means that you typically only have two years past the death to introduce a wrongful death lawsuit in court.

The attorneys at Hodes Milman have many years of experience in litigating personal injury and wrongful death matters. They know how important it is to make timely filings and how to best collect evidence to support your case. Contact us online or by calling (949) 640-8222. We are standing by to help you pursue your claim.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death is just that–a death that never should have occurred. Wrongful death refers to death that was a result of another person’s fault, misconduct, actions, or inactions such as when a person fails to follow proper safety procedures.

Examples of common wrongful death lawsuits include: 

  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Intentional killing (civil)

The laws for wrongful death vary by state. These determine who is able to bring a lawsuit and how long one has to bring a suit. They may also limit the amount of damages that may be awarded. For example, in California, a family may be limited in the amount of economic damages they can receive.

In California, a family can recover economic damages for: 

  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Earnings that the decedent would have contributed to the family
  • The loss of household services provided by the decedent (the deceased person)
  • The loss of any gift or inheritance that might have been received
  • The loss of health insurance coverage, retirement, or pension plans

California allows a family or family member to recover for noneconomic damages such as mental anguish or pain and suffering in wrongful death cases. For medical malpractice cases, parties cannot recover more than $350,000. Additionally, punitive damages or damages awarded to discourage similar misconduct in the future are usually not allowed in wrongful death cases.

Consulting with your California-based attorney will give you a better idea of what damages can be awarded in a wrongful death case.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

California law allows surviving family members or a decedent’s estate to bring a lawsuit when a person dies as a result of someone else’s wrongful act. In California, a wrongful death lawsuit is usually brought by the decedent’s family members or the decedent’s estate. Wrongful death claims are usually brought by: 

  • The spouse of the surviving spouse of the decedent
  • The parents of the decedent
  • Other heirs of the decedent

In order to prove a wrongful death case, you must prove that there was a death that was caused by another person’s negligence. This process is often a very complicated one and will require legal expertise and knowledge. Consulting with a licensed attorney is the best way to make sure that your case is handled with care. Additionally, an attorney will be able to ensure that you recover the maximum amount of damages.

The compassionate personal injury attorneys at Hodes Milman understand that wrongful death cases are often tragic and must be handled with care and understanding. We are standing by and will be able to handle your case with care and legal expertise. Contact us online or by calling (949) 640-8222.

Is There a Statute of Limitations For a Wrongful Death Claim?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum time a party has to initiate legal action. The maximum length of time a person has to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California is two years from the date of the accident.

Lawsuits and preparation for lawsuits take a lot of time. The process can be extremely complex depending on your case. That is why it is important to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. If you allow your two-year timeframe to lapse, it is very unlikely that you will be able to recover damages at all. 

Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you recover a much higher amount than you could recover on your own. Legal processes are complicated and time-consuming. If you choose to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on your own, you may find yourself battling insurance companies, the opposition’s own talented legal counsel, or corporate lawyers.

The lawyers at Hodes Milman are familiar with court procedures, filiing requirements, and important dates regarding your case. They are here to handle your case’s logistics and make sure that your matter is settled properly.

In the wake of a loved one’s untimely death, you should focus your time and attention on your family. Trust your lawsuit with the skilled wrongful death attorneys at Hodes Milman. Contact us online or by calling (949) 640-8222 to begin the legal process today.





HMI team

When you work with us, you’ll see the difference. A lot of firms are quick to show you numbers, and it is absolutely true that your lawyer should have experience and a strong track record in the area that you require. However, we’ll take it one step further. We also believe that your attorney should put your needs, cares and desires first. Because you deserve more than just compensation for your losses - you deserve a true advocate.

HMI team