Only certain family members are allowed to sue for the death of a loved one. Under California law, the following are allowed to sue:
- Victim’s spouse – Always
- Victim’s registered domestic partner – Always
- Victim’s parents – But if the victim was married, only when the victim left no children, or when the parents were finanically dependant on the victim
- Victim’s stepchildren – Only when the stepchildren were financially dependant on the victim
- Victim’s children – Always
- Victim’s adopted children – Always
- Unrelated children in victim’s care – Only if the child lived with the victim for the 180 days before the victim’s death and was financially dependant on the victim.
- Victim’s brothers & sisters – Only when the victim left no other relatives with a right to sue.
The following can never sue
- Victim’s unregistered domestic partner
- Victim’s ex spouse, even when dependant on the victim
- The victim’s “common-law” spouse.