Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is not something that anyone wants to do, but it is an effective way to hold a person responsible for the death of your loved one. When negligence leads to the loss of life, it is essential to help ensure it does not happen again and such a lawsuit is a good deterrent. At the conclusion of the lawsuit, if you win, the court will award damages in the form of payment.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, California awards wrongful death damages based on actual monetary losses. So, the person who loses the most financially due to the death of the person will be the person who receives the most from the damages the court awards.
If you are the spouse
If you were married to the deceased person, then you will get some portion of the damages but you may not get the full amount. You will share any award with any children your spouse has, including children you have together. If there is one child, you get half and the child gets half. If there is more than one child, you get one-third and the children get the rest to divide equally between themselves.
If your spouse does not have any children, then you will get at least half of the damages. Your spouse’s parents or siblings will get the other half.
Do note that if the deceased has a child who has also passed away but who had a child of his or her own, then that child receives the portion of damages his or her parent would get.
When there is no spouse
If the deceased was not married, then his or her children will get the damages to divide equally. If there are no children, then the parents or siblings, if there are no parents, will get the damages.