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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

Who can file wrongful death lawsuits in California?

In California, only certain people have the right to file a lawsuit for compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one. Depending on the relationship you had with the victim of a wrongful death, you may or may not have the right to file a claim under California law. To help the families and loved ones of wrongful death victims understand their rights, Fresno attorney Jacob J. Rivas explains who is entitled to file a wrongful death claim in California. For additional information, you may want to review the information provided by Mr. Rivas on the litigation process.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Fresno: Surviving spouses and children

The first individuals entitled to file a Fresno wrongful death lawsuit after the death of a loved one are the surviving spouse and children of a victim. If the victim did not have a spouse or children, the next individuals in line who are eligible to file a claim are the victim’s parents or brothers and sisters.

If none of these individuals are present, the children of deceased brothers and sisters, grandparents and other lineal descendants have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Fresno wrongful death lawsuit: Putative relatives

In addition to family members, there is a second group of individuals who can file a lawsuit after a wrongful death in Fresno. This group involves putative spouses, who believe in good faith that they were married to an individual, even if their marriage was not recognized by California law, or their children. Additionally, the stepchildren of a victim are also entitled to file a claim.

If a loved one has been the victim of wrongful death, you should speak with a Fresno wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to examine your rights and your entitlement to file a claim for compensation. Your attorney will be able to determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit and the type of compensation you are entitled to receive.

To schedule a free assessment of your Fresno wrongful death lawsuit, call the Law Office of Jacob J. Rivas at Phone: 559-263-9667 or toll free at or contact us online.

Verdicts & Settlements
  • "$3,400,000.00 settlement against a school district on behalf of 4 victims of sexual abuse by their school principal." - (2016)

  • "$2,073,373.80 jury verdict against national retail store for negligent operation of a cart resulting in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome to client." - (2017)

  • "$2,000,000.00 settlement reached during jury selection for client who was struck on left foot by an employee operating a merchandising cart at a retail store resulting in a serious neurological injury to client. " - (2014)

  • "$1,900,000.00 recovered for families for the wrongful death of their 2 children arising out of a drunk driving auto accident." - (2010)

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