“Wrongful Death” is a term lawyers use; it means a claim, for money, against a person who has caused the death of a close family member, usually a spouse or parent or a child. In most states a wrongful death claim is statutory; that is, the State Legislature passed a law permitting such a claim; in California the claim is set out in Section 377.60 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Other states will have different provisions, of course.
A wrongful death claim may arise from many different circumstances; it may be as a result of the defendants carelessness, for instance, reckless driving; it may arise from the defendant’s intentional act, like in the case of Robert Blake or Chaka Kahn. It may result from a manufacturer’s release of a defective product which caused the death of a user.
The important thing for consumers to know is that the claim can only be pursued successfully if the terms of the state statute which governs the claim are complijed with; that means, only those allowed by the statute to bring the claim may do so, and it can only be brought during the period allowed by the statute, and on the grounds set out in the statute, and so on. A failure to comply will usually mean the claim is lost forever; that’s why its so important to contact a lawyer who is familiar with this area of law.