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Wrongful death - same sex partners in San Bernardino

It is difficult to get through the day when someone close to you dies from cancer, a heart attack, or another disease, but when someone dies because of the negligence of another person, that seems unforgiveable. The law in most states allows the victim's family to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

A friend asked me a good question recently. "What happens if the victim was in a same-sex relationship? Does the partner have any rights to pursue a wrongful death claim?" These two women were in a committed relationship for 15 years. They made each other the beneficiary of each other's assets. A few weeks ago, one of the partners was hit by a car that went through a red light; she died instantly.

I advised my friend that several years ago a San Francisco judge, Superior Court Judge A. James Robertson II, made a groundbreaking decision regarding same-sex partners. He advised that if a partner could not sue for wrongful death, she would be denied equal protection under the California Constitution. This major victory was the first in the entire country, not just California. It was discovered that California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60 does not define surviving spouses when it comes to filing wrongful death suits. Because of Judge Robertson's decision, California Code Civil Procedure Section 377.60 now reads, ".... (a) the decedent's surviving spouse, domestic partner, children.... who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession."

If you were in a domestic partnership and you lost your loved one because of wrongful death or the negligence of another person or company, don't give up, contact a personal injury attorney who understands the rights of same sex couples and can fight for what your partner would want you to have.

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