An unexpected death is a complicated situation for surviving family members to handle. Families often struggle to cover funeral expenses and adjust to losses in income. These financial damages can make it difficult for families to fully process their loved one’s death, and concern over money can even interrupt the grieving process. If a California family has experienced the loss of a loved one, it may be extremely important to pursue just legal recourse through a wrongful death claim.

A person does not have to be criminally charged in order for a family to pursue a wrongful death suit, which is because criminal negligence is different than civil negligence. This means that, while that person might not have acted criminally, his or her behavior may have still been negligent. Demonstrating that negligence is not always easy though and requires identifying a number of elements, including that the surviving family members suffered financial damages as a result of their loved one’s death.

Damages from successfully pursued claims cover much more than lost wages. Pecuniary injuries may include funeral expenses, loss of prospective inheritance, lost support, services and bills incurred through attempts at life-saving medical care. However, determining the just and fair level of compensation for those pecuniary injuries in California is not as straightforward as it may seem. Factors such as a victim’s age, overall health, projected life expectancy, income and future earning potential play an important role in this decision.

The loss of a loved one can be especially difficult if he or she was killed by a person acting in a negligent manner. The period of time following that death can be complicated by more than just emotions, but also by the financial damages that can quickly affect surviving family members. Achieving necessary compensation through a wrongful death claim will not erase the emotional pain of this difficult experience, but it can ease financial worries and give a victim’s family the space to grieve.