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What if one sibling wants to file a wrongful death case and another doesn’t?

After the tragic death of parents, the children left behind may not all agree on if a wrongful death claim should be filed. The siblings who do agree to file can move forward alone with a lawsuit and earn support after a tragedy.

Not every brother or sister may want to file a wrongful death claim after the heartbreaking loss of a father or mother in an accident. But for those that do, there’s an easy way to determine what your case may earn in support.  Contact a skilled and compassionate California Wrongful Death Lawyer and schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation. It’s a confidential way to find out what types of benefits are available to you and your remaining family members.

Filing a Wrongful Death Case in California

A wrongful death claim is usually possible after a deadly accident that’s caused by the negligent or reckless act of an individual or a company or corporation. California allows the families of decedents (someone who has died) to file a claim against the at-fault party and the party’s insurer to secure support for their futures.

A wrongful death case may be necessary after a speeding driver causes a fatal accident along a busy freeway like Interstate 5. They may be filed after a deadly work accident caused by an employer’s negligence or after a death caused by medical malpractice. A defective product could cause a deadly accident that leaves a store like Walmart or a product manufacturer liable for wrongful death benefits.

It’s generally a close family member, usually a spouse or children of the victim, who files a wrongful death claim on behalf of all survivors (remaining family members). If it can be proven that someone’s carelessness led to a parent’s death, adult or young children could seek support for their hardships now and those that may arise in the future.

Those that would be eligible to receive a share of a wrongful death settlement check would be:

  • A spouse or partner
  • Children and adopted children of the victim
  • The grandchildren of the victim if their parents are no longer living

In some cases, the parents of the victim or anyone who was financially dependent on the decedent would have the right to participate in a wrongful death claim.

What If My Sibling Won’t Agree to File a Wrongful Death Claim After Losing a Parent?

Siblings can bring a wrongful death claim against an at-fault individual or business in a combined lawsuit. Each child would earn a share of a settlement or judgment awarded to the family. However, not every brother or sister has to join the lawsuit.

Each child can decide if they’ll take legal action. If they don’t, the other siblings can move forward with a wrongful death claim. The siblings that don’t take part are usually named as “nominal defendants.” They sign a waiver that says they won’t receive any compensation that is recovered in a lawsuit.

Each child of an accident victim also has the right to bring a separate wrongful death claim against an at-fault party. The wrongful death claim belongs to each child separately and the relationship that each child had with the parent is considered separately in these sorts of situations.

How Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Grieving Families?

As mentioned, a wrongful death claim must show that an at-fault party was responsible for the decedent’s death. But even when the fault is clear, liability insurance companies often attempt to shift blame in accidents so they can avoid paying out any financial assistance. When a company or corporation is responsible, it’s often corporate lawyers who get involved. They are paid to try to limit the support families receive.

Your California wrongful death attorney is your protection against this kind of unfair treatment. Your lawyer investigates the accident and gathers all evidence available. This evidence is used to build a strong case that insurers and large companies will have a hard time denying and rejecting.

Your lawyer also negotiates to get the most possible for your wrongful death claim. This puts you and your family in the best position to recover after a tragedy. This support is also critical to allow your family to avoid financial turmoil in the years ahead when a deceased parent is no longer able to provide weekly paychecks and emotional support to children. A wrongful death lawyer can represent a spouse and all children (young children or adult children) under one claim. A lawyer could also represent one sibling in a single claim, even if not all of the victim’s children wanted to join in.

Compensation Available to Children After Losing a Parent in a Personal Injury Accident

The support that’s possible in a wrongful death claim filed by siblings can include compensation for more than just medical bills and other economic losses. Brothers and sisters mourning the devastating loss of a parent should receive support for non-economic hardships as well.

Your California wrongful death lawyer would be asking for these and other economic and non-economic damages for your family:

  • Support for the income the decedent can no longer contribute to children in the years ahead.
  • The gifts and benefits the decedent would have provided to the family.
  • Funeral expenses.
  • The household chores the loved one would have provided and the sense of security that would have come with it.
  • The love and guidance lost to the family in the future.
  • Support for the emotional trauma caused by the tragic death of a parent.
  • The life lessons a father or mother can no longer provide to young children as they mature.

Something called a “survival action” is similar to a wrongful death claim. Both can be filed for the same case. The survival action asks for support for the hardships the victim suffered before passing away. This can include compensation for all medical bills built up while the victim was under hospital care. The lost paychecks the victim forfeited while unable to work in the period before death could also be reimbursed to the family.

Contact a California Wrongful Death Lawyer

Children of parents who have been tragically killed in a personal injury accident generally have two years to file a wrongful death claim. Waiting longer than two years will usually mean any claim filed will be rejected.

If you’ve lost a father or mother, or both, in a devastating accident that someone else caused, please contact an experienced California wrongful death lawyer for a free and confidential case consultation. Your other family members don’t have to know about your inquiry about wrongful death claims until you are ready.

And if you think we can help your family prove who was at fault in the accident that claimed a parent’s life and help you earn more in support, you won’t need any upfront money. Maison Law doesn’t receive payment unless we win your case for your family. Then, our attorney fee comes out of the settlement award your family receives.


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