If you lost a loved one in an accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, do not hesitate to contact the Orange County personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw. You might be entitled to compensation and could hold the at-fault party liable for the losses you suffered. Surviving family members have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover the cost of the burial, funeral, and other expenses as long as the victim’s actions didn’t contribute to their fatal injury.

At OnderLaw, our Orange County wrongful death attorneys understand the trauma of losing someone in a preventable accident. When you’re trying to grieve your loss and pay for the costs you incurred, it might seem overwhelming to take on a wrongful death case. You can depend on our legal team to handle each step of the process on your behalf so you can focus on healing from the emotional pain and moving forward with your life.

Learn more about us and how we can help you after your devastating loss by calling for a free consultation.

What Is Wrongful Death?

California law defines wrongful death as a death that results from someone else’s neglect or wrongful act. Since the accident victim can’t pursue compensation from the at-fault party, a surviving family member is entitled to initiate a lawsuit and seek compensation for various losses.

OnderLaw has experience handling a range of cases involving the victim’s wrongful death, including:

  • Car accidents – Accidents involving motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles commonly lead to fatalities. Poor road conditions, distracted drivers, speeding, and disobeying traffic laws are just some examples of factors that can contribute to crashes.
  • Truck accidents – Commercial trucks cause severe injuries to the occupants of other vehicles during collisions. Drivers and passengers in small cars typically suffer more than truck drivers. Out of the 4,119 large truck accident fatalities that occurred in 2019, only 16 percent were truck occupants, while 67 percent were the occupants of passenger vehicles.
  • Premises liability – Many accidents on commercial or residential properties result in minor or serious injuries but are rarely life-threatening. However, fatalities are possible in extremely hazardous conditions. For example, a loose railing could cause someone to fall down the stairs and suffer a fatal traumatic brain injury. A balcony that doesn’t meet the required building code could collapse while someone’s standing on it.
  • Nursing home abuse – Older adults are vulnerable to different types of abuse, including physical abuse. They could sustain a fatal injury during an attack or develop a deadly infection if their nurse doesn’t provide the necessary medical care.
  • Defective products – An unsafe design, manufacturing error, or inadequate warning labels can make a product inherently dangerous for a consumer to use. Faulty wiring in a household appliance could spark a fire, or an unstable dresser could tip over and fall on top of a child.
  • Workplace accidents – Fatalities can happen in any job industry. Poor working conditions, employer negligence, and other factors can lead to a deadly accident. Common causes of workplace fatalities include lack of fall protection, malfunctioning machinery, toxic chemical exposure, and electrocution.

You might be entitled to compensation if your loved one was the victim of any of these types of accidents. You should contact OnderLaw immediately to represent you in your case.

Who Could Be Held Responsible? Who Is Eligible to Bring a Claim?

Various parties can be at fault for someone’s wrongful death. The person you hold liable will depend on the circumstances of the accident. For example, a driver with alcohol in their system might be responsible for a person’s death if they cause a car accident. If your loved one died at work, you could recover death benefits from workers’ compensation insurance or sue the employer directly if they caused the accident and don’t carry workers’ compensation coverage.

If you’re a surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, or grandchild, you could pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. However, if there aren’t any surviving family members, the next person entitled to the deceased’s property through intestate succession could be a surviving parent, sibling, or dependent residing with the deceased at the time of their death.

Besides the above surviving relatives, other parties that might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit are:

  • Putative spouse
  • The putative spouse’s children
  • Stepchildren
  • Parents
  • Legal guardians if there isn’t a surviving parent

One or multiple people can pursue this type of case, but there can be only one lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit together, you must share the awarded compensation. The court can determine how to split the monetary losses fairly and adequately. You’re not entitled to compensation for a loss that doesn’t apply to you. For example, you can’t pursue reimbursement of funeral costs if someone else paid for it.


No amount of money could possibly make up for your loss. Losing someone you love is a painful and devastating experience. Although the amount of compensation you’re entitled to can’t change what happened or bring them back, it could ease the financial burden you might face as a result of your loved one’s passing.

The monetary award you seek in a wrongful death lawsuit can compensate for two types of losses: economic and noneconomic. Economic losses are expenses and the loss of certain monetary benefits, such as:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Financial support the deceased would have provided if they were still alive
  • Loss of benefits or gifts the deceased could have given to the family
  • The reasonable dollar value of any lost household services the deceased can no longer provide

Noneconomic losses refer to the intangible impact of the death on surviving family members, such as:

  • Loss of guidance
  • A spouse or domestic partner’s loss of intimacy
  • Lost comfort, love, companionship, protection, care, assistance, and moral support

It’s critical that you begin the legal process immediately after the accident or your loved one’s death. Preparing a case like this requires adequate time to investigate the incident, gather evidence, and determine who should be held liable for the resulting losses. An experienced and knowledgeable Orange County wrongful death attorney could assist you in the process and find a way to reach a favorable outcome.

Proving Negligence in California and the Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you want to recover compensation from the at-fault party, you must prove that they were negligent. Negligence is someone’s failure to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid causing injuries to another person. You must show that the at-fault party’s actions contributed to your loved one’s death and that the death resulted in economic and noneconomic losses.

There’s a strict timeframe you must follow if you want to sue someone after a fatal accident. California has a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. That means you must file your lawsuit within two years of the date your loved one died if you want to seek compensation for your losses. Once this deadline passes, you can’t initiate legal action.

Orange County and California Fatal Accident Statistics

Although a person’s negligence could lead to someone’s death in any situation, one of the most common scenarios is a traffic-related collision. In 2018, 242 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in Orange County. In 2020, 47 people died in pedestrian accidents in Orange County.

Occupational hazards and dangerous working conditions are other common causes of wrongful death. In 2020, 5,250 fatal workplace injuries occurred in California. Men die while performing their job duties at a higher rate than women. Additionally, adults 65 years of age and older suffer fatal injuries more than employees in younger age groups.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?

Losing someone in an accident upends your entire life. You suddenly face tremendous grief, stress, and financial responsibilities. While you’re paying for their final medical bills and burial costs, you’re also dealing with the legal aspects of a lawsuit. It can become overwhelming, especially if you’re handling everything alone. You should not suffer because of someone else’s misconduct.

The Orange County wrongful death attorneys of OnderLaw can completely take over the legal proceedings and complete every step on your behalf to relieve your burden. We will begin with an investigation to determine who was at fault and start locating vital evidence to prove our case. If we can’t reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company, we have the resources to proceed with a lawsuit.

OnderLaw has built an excellent reputation since 2002. We have secured over $3.5 billion in settlements and verdicts and received multiple awards and recognition for our work. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Super Lawyers, and The National Trial Lawyers are just a few organizations to recognize us for our dedication to our clients and the case results we have achieved. Martindale-Hubbell gave us an AV rating, the highest rating a lawyer could possibly receive.

Contact Us

At OnderLaw, we firmly believe that negligent individuals and companies deserve to face the consequences of their actions. We believe in holding people responsible for the harm they cause and pursuing the maximum compensation necessary to get victims on the road to recovery.

If you lost someone in a fatal accident, call OnderLaw today. One of our Orange County wrongful death attorneys will be happy to discuss your case during a free consultation and advise you about your legal options for seeking justice.