If a California resident dies as a result of another person’s negligence, the surviving family members might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Eligible family members typically include the individual’s spouse, children or parents. But who can file a wrongful death suit if none of these people are still living?

Can non-family members file a wrongful death lawsuit?

If the individual’s parents, children and spouse are no longer living, their legal guardians are next in line to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If they don’t have any legal guardians, a putative spouse could file a lawsuit. A putative spouse is someone who married an individual without knowing that they were already legally married. The putative spouse’s children or stepchildren could also file a lawsuit if the spouse is no longer living.

If the individual died without a living spouse, putative spouse or children from any of their marriages, a dependent minor is the last person in the line of succession. The minor must have lived with the individual for at least 180 days before their death and relied on them for financial support. This could include an underage family member or a friend who wasn’t related by blood. This individual can hire a wrongful death attorney and file a lawsuit.

What could a wrongful death lawsuit cover?

A wrongful death lawsuit won’t bring your loved one back, but it could help you receive compensation for the tragedy.  When you hire an attorney, you might be able to seek compensation for funeral costs, lost financial support of the deceased family member  and the loss of consortium felt by the loss of the member. You might be able to settle the matter outside of court or bring the case to trial.