Losing your child is something no parent should have to go through. It is a difficult situation no matter the circumstances, but when the death is the result of someone else’s actions, that can propel you to want to seek legal remedies. The wrongful death statute exists for this reason. The point of a wrongful death lawsuit is to allow the person closest to the deceased a way to seek recovery for the loss of that person financially.
Wrongful death, according to California Legislative Information, is when someone causes the death of another person through negligent actions or illegal actions. Under the law, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your deceased child as long as you are the legal next of kin. This depends on the child’s age and circumstances.
If your child was under the age of 18 and did not have a spouse or children, then you typically qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The succession laws of the state, which say you are the next of kin who would receive your child’s assets upon his or her death, is why you have the right to this claim.
If your child was an adult or had a spouse or children, then the situation is more complex. The person with the closest legal relationship is the one with the right to file for wrongful death. So, if your child had a spouse, then this spouse is the one with the right to file a claim. If he or she did not have a spouse but had a child, then the child is the next of kin who has the right to file.
If your adult child did not have a spouse or children, then you are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Again, this goes back to succession laws, which define who is the next legal kin to the deceased.