Who Gets The Money From A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
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The experience of losing a loved one is heart-breaking for those left behind. The grief is exacerbated by learning that the death was caused by the reckless or intentional actions of a third party. For their tragic loss, surviving family members have the right to be angry and to demand justice. In California, accountability can be attained by filing a claim for wrongful death against the responsible party(s).
But who receives the money in a wrongful death settlement? According to state law, certain family members are eligible for compensation. People are frequently unaware of who can take legal action and how money is distributed in the event of a successful lawsuit.
Who Receives Money After a Wrongful Death Lawsuit In California?
The California statute on wrongful death specifies potential claimants in the event of a successful claim. Included among these individuals are the deceased:
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner.
- Stepchildren, if they were financially dependent on the decedent for at least half of their financial support.
- According to California intestate succession laws, individuals are entitled to the deceased person’s property.
In California, the “one-action” rule applies to wrongful death cases. This law prohibits family members from filing separate lawsuits against the negligent party. In a California case involving wrongful death, all parties must file a single lawsuit.
Typically, it is up to the family members to determine how the money is distributed in a wrongful death claim. Beneficiaries may petition the courts for assistance in dividing funds if disagreements arise over who receives what.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
Numerous variables can affect the duration of a wrongful death lawsuit. Some lawsuits last for months, while others may continue for a year or longer. Thankfully, most cases of wrongful death are settled outside of court. If the party at fault admits fault, the insurance company may make a settlement offer to quickly resolve the case.
However, insurance companies are notorious for minimizing claims to save money. Almost certainly, the initial settlement offer will be less than the actual value of your claim. Never accept an insurance settlement without first consulting an attorney. The shock of your loss may cause you to accept far less than you deserve, resulting in future financial difficulties.
Depending on the outcome of settlement negotiations, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit for wrongful death to pursue full and fair compensation. Although litigation requires more time, it may improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation. A competent wrongful death attorney can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a trial with you.
Nobody deserves to lose a family member because of carelessness. If you are grieving the loss of a family member, allow the wrongful death attorneys at Oracle Law Firm to handle your case. We will fight aggressively to hold the responsible party accountable for the death of your loved one so that you have the means to rebuild your life. Call us at (888) 547-1778 for a complimentary case evaluation.