Did your loved one die in an accident? Was it due to another person’s negligence? If so, call OnderLaw, so we can review the circumstances of your case and help you determine your legal options for holding the at-fault party liable. We could help you pursue the compensation necessary to cover the losses you suffered. OnderLaw knows the psychological trauma that comes with losing a relative. It’s absolutely devastating and can temporarily put your life on hold while you’re trying to cope with what happened. In addition to emotional distress, it can also cause financial struggles. If you can’t afford to pay for the funeral and other expenses, you could end up facing massive debt.The Santa Clarita personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw understand the various challenges you might face after your loved one’s death. We know no amount of money can ever make up for your loss, but it could provide financial relief as you’re paying for final bills. Our legal team will help you in the fight for justice and try to reach your desired outcome.

For a free consultation, call us right now.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a person’s death caused by someone else’s neglect or wrongful act. Negligence is a common factor in cases like this. Negligence occurs when one party fails to exercise a reasonable degree of care to avoid harming others. If you can prove the at-fault individual or entity was negligent in causing your loved one’s death, you could pursue legal action against them.

It’s crucial to understand that a wrongful death lawsuit differs significantly from criminal charges. When you press charges against someone for causing another person’s death, they could face criminal penalties, such as a prison sentence and fines. A wrongful death case seeks a monetary penalty from the at-fault party to cover the losses suffered by the surviving family.

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

An individual, business, or combination of parties could be at fault for someone’s death. The most common causes of wrongful death include:

  • Healthcare professional or facility errors
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Dog bites
  • Occupational hazards
  • Fires
  • Accidents on a poorly maintained property
  • Defective products
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect

Surviving family members can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. Common plaintiffs in wrongful death cases include:

  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • Grandchildren

If the deceased victim doesn’t have any surviving relatives in their line of descent, someone entitled to their property through intestate succession could file the lawsuit. That could be a surviving parent or sibling.

Additional individuals can also pursue a wrongful death case if they were dependent on the decedent, including:

  • Putative spouse
  • Putative spouse’s children
  • Stepchildren
  • Minors as long as they lived with the deceased for at least 180 days before the death and were dependent on them for at least one half of their life
  • Parents
  • Legal guardians, if the parents aren’t alive

If multiple people decide to sue the at-fault party, the court could consolidate each legal action into one single case for trial. The court will determine the compensation awarded to each person named in the lawsuit.


As a surviving family member or dependent, it is your right to pursue compensation from the negligent party that caused your loved one’s death. The monetary award you receive could compensate for the losses you suffered, such as:

  • Loss of guidance that the deceased provided
  • The reasonable value of lost household services
  • Loss of financial support that the deceased could have contributed if they were still alive
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of intimacy experienced by a surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Loss of benefits the decedent would have provided to family if they survived
  • Loss of love, care, protection, companionship, moral support, assistance, society, comfort, and affection

If you want to seek exemplary damages, you must file a survival action. This compensates the estate for losses unrelated to the death the deceased could have pursued compensation for up until the date they died, as well as losses resulting from the injury they sustained if they survived for a period after the incident. A survival action does not allow compensation for disfigurement, pain, or suffering.

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

There is a statute of limitations you must abide by if you want to sue the negligent party for causing your loved one’s death. The statute of limitations in California is two years. That means you have two years from the date your relative died to file your lawsuit if you want to recover compensation. After the deadline passes, you could lose your right to initiate a civil action in court.

Like any personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death lawsuit requires showing proof of the at-fault party’s misconduct. If they were entirely at fault, you could seek the total available monetary award. However, if your loved one’s actions contributed to their death in any way, you will receive diminished compensation.

Pure comparative negligence reduces a plaintiff’s compensation by their percentage of shared fault. For example, if your loved one’s death resulted in $100,000 in losses, but a jury determines they were 25% responsible for the incident, you could only receive up to $75,000 in a lawsuit.

State Fatal Accident Statistics

Car accidents are a common cause of wrongful death in California. In 2019, 3,316 fatal collisions caused 3,606 fatalities. Of these deaths, 33% were the occupants of passenger cars, 27% were pedestrians, and 13% were motorcyclists. The highest number of fatalities occurred in single-vehicle crashes.

Commercial truck accidents are also a common cause of wrongful death. If truck drivers behave recklessly or make an error at the wheel, they put other people at risk of injury and death. In 2020, accidents involving large trucks resulted in 440 fatalities in California.

Fatal workplace injuries are common among various industries, such as construction and transportation. Some occupations are more dangerous than others. In 2019, the number of fatal occupational injuries in these industry sectors included:

  • Construction – 1,061
  • Transportation and warehousing – 913
  • Agriculture, forestry, hunting, and fishing – 573
  • Government – 426
  • Retail trade – 291
  • Leisure and hospitality – 271
  • Other services, such as public administration – 210
  • Health and educational services – 197
  • Wholesale trade – 178
  • Mining, oil and gas extraction, and quarrying – 127

Nursing home abuse is tragically common in California. As distressing as it may be to imagine, older adults are vulnerable to mistreatment while living in long-term care facilities. If a staff member or another party physically abuses or neglects a patient, a fatal injury or medical condition could result.

study determined that California has one of the highest elder abuse and neglect rates in the country. That is due to the lack of protections and resources for individuals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. According to National Council On Aging, five million older adults experience some type of abuse every year.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer? Why Choose OnderLaw?

Losing someone you love in a preventable accident is a tragic experience for anyone to endure. You deserve to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. However, pursuing legal action can be a huge undertaking. When you’re already grieving your loss, you might not have the mental capacity to handle a legal case. That is where OnderLaw comes in.

Our Santa Clarita wrongful death attorneys can take on this responsibility. You should take this time to focus on coping with what happened and getting your life back on track. We will investigate the incident to determine the circumstances and gather all available evidence to prove who was at fault.

OnderLaw has experience representing surviving family members in wrongful death lawsuits. We have a proven track record of success in holding companies and individuals liable for the harm they cause.

Since 2002, we have received multiple awards and accolades from prestigious organizations, including the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, The National Trial Lawyers, and Super Lawyers. We also hold an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating a law firm can receive.

We understand the economic strain of paying for final medical bills and other costs after a family member dies. We take cases on contingency, so you’re not burdened by upfront fees or costs. We will not collect any legal fees unless we secure compensation on your behalf.

Speak to an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

OnderLaw will remain in your corner throughout your entire case. We will provide you with sound legal advice and keep you informed on the status of your case at every step in the legal process. Your case will be a priority from start to finish. No matter what happens, you can depend on our team to fight for you and seek justice on behalf of your loved one.

If someone’s negligence caused your relative’s death, do not hesitate to contact OnderLaw. One of our Santa Clarita wrongful death attorneys will go over all the details during your free initial consultation and determine if we can take your case. Call now.