A picture of a coffin on the article how wrongful death proceeds are divided

Dividing a wrongful death settlement in California can be complex.

While spouses, children, and sometimes dependents can receive compensation,  determining each person’s share can be challenging.

This article explores:

  • Eligible parties: Who can receive compensation under California’s wrongful death statute.
  • Types of damages: Economic and non-economic losses covered by the settlement.
  • Reaching an agreement: The importance of family consensus on the division of funds.
  • Court intervention: How the court determines fair distribution in the absence of an agreement.

Read the full article for a detailed explanation of wrongful death settlement distribution in California.  GJEL Accident Attorneys can guide you through this difficult process and help you pursue the compensation your family deserves.

When you are grieving the accidental death of a family member, you may not immediately appreciate the full extent of how that person’s passing may affect your life.

It can be hard to cope with the tremendous loss you suffer if someone else’s negligence caused the victim’s death. When a car crash, an accident on the property, defective consumer product, or other incident takes a life, it leaves a void in unexpected ways.

You can no longer rely on your loved one’s support, guidance, and contribution to your family.

You may have legal rights, as the relative of a victim who died as the result of the negligence of another.

Under California’s wrongful death statute, designated individuals can seek compensation from the responsible party.

How Are Wrongful Death Proceeds Divided?

These cases are extremely complex, both as to obtaining a recovery, and determining how compensation is then divided among surviving family members.

However, pursuing your legal remedies requires a skilled, knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

Read below for a full breakdown of how wrongful death settlements are distributed.

Who Are The Eligible Parties?

Not all people bearing a familial or close relationship are allowed to bring a claim for wrongful death. California law is specific in stating the parties who can seek financial damages, which include:

  • The personal representative of the decedent’s estate, or his or her successor in interest, on behalf of the decedent, as to certain damages;
  • The decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner;
  • The decedent’s children;
  • In some circumstances, those who would take a share of the decedent’s estate if he or she died without a will; and,
  • In limited circumstances, other members of the household who were financially reliant on the victim.

Damages By Divided for Parties Who Have Standing

There are different modes of compensation available for persons allowed to file a wrongful death action.

The decedent’s estate may be entitled to compensation for certain losses, such as pre-death medical bills; surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for economic damages (loss of support) and non-economic losses (loss of care, comfort, and society) as well.

California gives the court authority to distribute proceeds among eligible family members, if they do not reach an agreement, in a fair and just manner.

It would be ideal for those entitled to a designated recovery to come to an agreement with other family members, but a court will decide in the absence of compromise.

So there may be two difficult issues facing a claimant under California’s wrongful death statute: fighting to get the compensation you deserve after losing a loved one and facing resistance and battles from other family members over sums obtained in compensation for the decedent’s death.

Talk to a California Wrongful Death Attorney About Your Claim

For more information on how compensation is divided among family members, please contact the GJEL Wrongful Death Lawyers.

We are by your side to aggressively fight for your rights against the person responsible for your loved one’s passing, and we will protect your interests as they relate to an apportionment of sums recovered among eligible parties.

You can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (925) 253-5800 or contact us toll-free at 1-855-508-9565.

Written by Andy Gillin. Last Updated 04/15/2024