You start by making sure you file the case within the time period that you’re allowed to file the case in. Generally two years from the date of the death if you are an adult and if it’s not against a public entity and then other specific time limitations that differ. Once you’ve determined that, the next step is filing a lawsuit in the proper court, and the proper court is going to be either where the accident happened or where one of the people responsible for the accident lives.
Now before you file a lawsuit it is important to determine if you are one of those people who is entitled to file a lawsuit. Certain categories of relatives are always eligible to file a wrongful death case. That is a child, or a spouse or a dependent parent. A dependent parent is defined as a parent who is receiving some sort of financial assistance from the deceased person. If there is no living spouse and if there are no living children, then the parents can recover whether or not they are dependent. And then if there are no dependent parents, no spouse and in addition to that no children, the California probate code determines what people are then entitled to recover, including siblings, cousins and on down the line.