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What's a Putative Spouse in California?

There's far too much confusing legal jargon thrown around when it comes to California wrongful death lawsuits. Putative spouse or child is one such term that can be super confusing to a non-attorney when all  you are trying to find out is if you can file a wrongful death suit following the loss of a loved one. Let's start from the beginning—a wrongful death lawsuit allows those closest to the deceased to financially recover following their death as a result of the negligence of someone else. For instance, an individual is struck and killed by a reckless driver on the 405 freeway. In this instance, the family of the deceased would be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and/or insurance company of the driver.

California Code of Civil Procedures Section 377.60

Covered by California Code of Civil Procedures 377.60, a putative spouse is allowed to bring a wrongful death claim if he or she was dependent on the deceased. But what exactly is a putative spouse? Here's a legal and plain English breakdown of this important classification:

  • Legal definition: “the surviving spouse of a void or voidable marriage who is found by the court to have a belief in good faith that the marriage to the decedent was valid.”
  • Plain English: You thought you were married but for one reason or another you were not technically married in the eyes of the law.

Most commonly, putative spouse situations happen when a divorce from a previous marriage is not finalized so the current wife is actually not legally considered the wife. The laws around putative spouses and their ability to bring a wrongful death lawsuit are really all about being fair to you, the victim and the tremendous loss you just suffered because of the negligence of someone else.

Putative Spouse and Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In any wrongful death or serious personal injury case we take on, we always have to establish your right to bring the lawsuit in the first place. When it comes to a putative spouse wrongful death lawsuit, there is more work involved as we need to establish that you were in fact a putative spouse. Some of the factors the court will look at to determine if the good faith belief in marriage was in fact just that include:

  • Educational background
  • Cultural background
  • Lifestyle

Once this relationship classification is established, the wrongful death cases will proceed to show the negligence of the offending party and ask for damages specific to your case. The court only allows one claim to be made in an individual wrongful death lawsuit so while there can be multiple plaintiffs as well as defendants, only one case can seek damages.

The Walch Law Firm

When you hire us, you hire a family law firm that realizes the gravity of your situation. We have the resources of a large law firm with the approachable accessibility of a small one. We know dealing with a lawsuit is not necessarily what you want to do but we also know how much compensation for this unfair death can help. If you are dealing with a wrongful death situation and not sure what to do now, give us a call today or fill out our intake form and schedule your obligation-free consultation with us today. Time is of the essence when it comes to any personal injury case, including wrongful death and it is imperative that we get your case filed in time. The sooner you call the sooner we can start fighting for you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Nine Reasons To Choose Us

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Results
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When looking for a California wrongful death lawyer, you want a law firm that can get you the money you deserve. At Walch Law, we don't just meet our clients' expectations, we exceed them. We win over 95% of our cases and will work hard to get you the same great results we have gotten for so many of our happy clients. When it comes to handing a California wrongful death case, resolving your case as quickly as possible for as much money as possible is how we approach every case.

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Experience
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Founding partner Gary Walch started this law firm to help people in your very situation. With over forty years of experience, you can feel confident that when you hire Walch Law Firm, you are benefiting from his years of experience. Robert Walch has been with the firm since 2000 and has a track record of success, as does the rest of the highly qualified staff at Walch Law. A family firm with the resources of a big law firm means you get the best of both worlds.

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Trust
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There are lots of law firms that will happily take your business but very few will deliver results and handle your case the way that we do. We understand and respect how difficult this time is for you and our family. When you hire Walch Law Firm you are hiring a family firm that you can trust. We have a stellar reputation within the legal community and among our clients.

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Contingency Fee
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For many individuals and families following a death it is not just an emotional time but a stressful financial time as well—hiring an attorney should help relieve this financial stress which is why you hire us on a contingency fee arrangement. Translation: you don't pay for any fees or costs associated with your case until you get paid. We have the financial resources of a large law firm but the accessible environment of a small firm meaning your case won't get lost in the shuffle.

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Communication
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Whenever you are ready, we are available to talk and this open and available communication model is something that our clients enjoy until their case is closed. We keep you informed and updated on your case every step of the way, always explain what's happening in plain English and ultimately deliver on our promise to get you paid.

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Recent Victories
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Winning over 95% of our cases means that you can feel very confident when you hire us to help with your case. Some of our recent victories include a $5,000,000+ settlement for a car accident, $1,250,000 settlement for a wrongful death pedestrian case and $2,500,000 for injuries related to a subway accident.

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Support
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First and foremost, you are suffering a major traumatic loss and we understand that. We can help with counseling, medical professionals and other important resources during this time. Your focus should be on dealing with this loss, let us take care of all the legal details.

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Family Firm
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There are small firms that might not be able to front the costs of your case and there are big law firms that will easily take your case but lack any type of personal touch (and you might have trouble hearing back from them when you want to) and then there's Walch Law Firm. We can handle any case and pride ourselves on our accessibility to clients. Father-son duo Gary & Robert Walch treat everyone like family and this personal touch is something that our clients as well as our employees constantly comment on and appreciate!

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Se Habla Espanol!
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¿Busca un abogado de habla hispana ayudar con su caso de la muerte ilícito de California? No busque más. Somos una firma de abogados de servicio completo de habla hispana que puede ayudarle durante este tiempo difícil tiempo. Llama nos o correo electrónico hoy para su consulta gratuita para aprender más.

We are here to help. Get in touch with us today to begin your financial recovery.

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