To have a loved one taken suddenly from you can leave an emptiness and pain you thought you’d never have to imagine. It’s even worse when the untimely death could have been prevented.

OnderLaw understands your pain and loss. While money can never replace your loved one, we want to work with you to seek justice and compensation for your loss from the one whose negligence caused your loss.

Call the San Bernardino personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw today for a free consultation about pursuing compensation from the one who deprived your family of your loved one.

What Is Wrongful Death?

The Oxford Dictionary defines wrongful death as “a civil action in which damages are sought against a party for causing a death.” In simpler terms, any time someone causes another person to die, that someone can be held responsible for the death in court. This lawsuit is not a criminal case, but it is a civil suit. The burden of proof is less than in a criminal case, and the person suing for wrongful death is responsible for hiring their own attorney to represent them in court.

In California, in order to sue for wrongful death, the death must arise from a legal fault of another person or thing, such as a corporation, a business, or a government.

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

The defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit will be a person or organization that is legally at fault for the death of your loved one. This can include an actual person or a business or government. The wrongful death can be the result of a vehicle collision, industrial accident, or medical malpractice. Wrongful death can also include intentional actions, such as criminal activity. It is possible for a person to be charged criminally for causing the death and also be sued in civil court for wrongful death.

In California, a person can bring a wrongful death lawsuit if that person is personally related to the deceased. This may include:

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • Children or grandchildren, including stepchildren and legal guardians
  • Parents
  • People dependent on the deceased for financial support
  • The estate of the deceased


In California, a person’s losses after a wrongful death are called “damages.” Damages may be economic or noneconomic. You may be eligible for both types of compensation. The economic damages available in a wrongful death suit are:

  • Financial support. The loss of income from the deceased’s work and livelihood can be addressed in the lawsuit.
  • Loss of gifts and benefits. A loss of insurance and other benefits that derived from the deceased’s work, as well as lost bonuses and other gifts that could be reasonably expected from the loved one.
  • Funeral and burial expenses. The costs of a funeral and burial can run into high figures.
  • Reasonable dollar value of household services. Household services can be work done around the house, chores performed by the deceased, and other things that will now have to be hired out due to the loss of the loved one.

Noneconomic damages are not as straightforward as economic damages. Noneconomic damages are more intangible in nature, and to be sure that you request an appropriate amount of compensation, you need an attorney. Your attorney from OnderLaw has the experience to make sure that all your losses are properly valued and that you pursue all the compensation you deserve.

Noneconomic damages that may be awarded are:

  • Loss of “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support.” The emotional toll that comes from losing a loved one can be hard to value, but the damage is genuine. The holidays will be different. Vacations won’t be the same. Day-to-day activities that were once taken for granted will be empty. The smile you enjoyed, the laughs you shared, and the mutual support in difficult times are now all gone. Compensation can be sought for such a loss.
  • Loss of enjoyment and intimacy. For the surviving spouse, the relationship that was expected to last for many years has suddenly been taken away. The bed shared by two is now used by one. The things you used to enjoy doing together are no longer possible.
  • Loss of guidance. The life experiences of your loved one are no longer available to provide help in life’s decisions. You will need to ask someone else which tie goes with the shirt and suit, which dress looks better. Simple things like planning a meal or an evening out will no longer be a shared event. The unique way of seeing the world that belonged to your loved one is no longer there to help you through the decisions of life, both big and small.

Proving Negligence in California / Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you’ll need to be able to show that the person at fault for your loved one’s death was negligent. In California, everyone has a duty to take reasonable care that they don’t injure anyone else. You must show, with evidence, that the at-fault party failed to take reasonable care. Next, you have to show that their lack of care caused the accident and that the accident resulted in your loved one’s death. If you can provide evidence that demonstrates all those things, you may be able to win your case.

California has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The deadline begins to count down at the death of your loved one. If the statutory deadline passes and you file your claim late, the court may dismiss it. Should that take place, you will lose your opportunity to pursue compensation in court. It’s a good idea to engage a lawyer as soon after your loved one’s passing as you can. Your lawyer will keep track of all these sorts of deadlines for you. All you should have to do at this time is help your family deal with their grief.

State Fatal Accident Statistics

The California Office of Traffic Safety has the following data on fatal accidents in the state. These statistics reflect only deaths resulting from vehicle collisions. In 2017, 3,904 people died as a result of a vehicular accident. There were 3,582 fatal crashes in the state during this time.

In 2019, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that 3,606 people died in 3,316 fatal crashes in the state of California.

In 2021, the government of California released a report showing there had been 451 industrial fatalities in 2019. Of those deaths, 92 percent were men. Workers between the ages of 45-54 suffered the most fatalities (23 percent). The report also showed that 47 percent of fatalities were Hispanic or Latino. This was followed by white non-Hispanic workers, who suffered 41 percent of industrial fatalities. Blacks suffered 20 percent of the fatalities.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?

At a time like this, you may not be thinking straight. You’re no doubt overwhelmed at all the little losses you didn’t expect in the aftermath of your loved one’s death. If they were the primary income in your household, you may also be worried about how you’ll make ends meet. Why do you need a lawyer? Because right now, the last thing you need to be worried about is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. You handle your grief. We’ll handle your case.

OnderLaw has many years of experience in representing grieving families in wrongful death suits. You need a lawyer to guide you through a wrongful death lawsuit for the following reasons:

  • Emotional journey. When you are dealing with the unexpected and tragic loss of a loved one, emotions can run high. That’s understandable. That’s why a lawyer is important at this time. Your attorney, while invested in you and your case, can also look at the circumstances and evidence in a more objective way and can most effectively present your case to a jury or judge on your behalf.
  • Legal complexity. There are steps that must be taken in any legal proceeding, from the filing of the lawsuit in a timely manner (within the statute of limitations), knowing in which court to file the lawsuit, and ascertaining which party or parties should be included. We can depose the parties and, on your behalf and with your approval, negotiate any possible settlement of the case prior to trial.
  • Experience and know-how. We know how to address the legal issues and the emotional issues. We know the legal ins and outs that must be negotiated. We know what steps to take and when to take them. Throughout the process, we will keep in touch with you, keeping you up-to-date with each step and any negotiations that are taking place. We will not make a decision without your input and approval. We will also help you to come to a realistic expectation of the probable outcome of your particular case.

Contact Us Today

OnderLaw is eager to help you through this very difficult time. We want to be your representative against the insurance companies and lawyers who will line up against you and try to whittle you down. We will stand up for you and your loved one to obtain the compensation and justice you deserve.

Contact us now to talk with us about the death of your loved one and the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit. Call us for a free consultation.

Let’s see if we can right this wrong together.