wrongful death in orange county

When someone’s recklessness causes the death of a loved one, it can be devastating. Not only do you have to cope with the emotional pain and loss, but there may also be financial burden and responsibilities that come along with it.


In Orange County, wrongful death laws are designed to provide relief to families who have suffered such an irreplaceable loss. This blog post aims to shed light on what constitutes wrongful death, the types of damages you may be entitled to, and the importance of seeking professional legal guidance.



Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Orange County

Wrongful death happens when an individual dies due to the wrongful act, negligence, or misconduct of another person or entity. This can happen in various scenarios, including but not limited to:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Collisions caused by reckless or impaired drivers.
  • Medical Malpractice: Errors or negligence by healthcare professionals.
  • Workplace Accidents: Unsafe working conditions leading to fatal injuries.
  • Defective Products: Fatalities resulting from poorly designed or manufactured products.

Per California law, cases involving wrongful death in Orange County are governed by specific legal requirements. The surviving relatives who can file such claims typically include the deceased’s spouse or domestic partner, surviving children, and other family members who would inherit the estate if there are no immediate kin, like parents or siblings.

Types of Damages Recoverable When You File
a Wrongful Death Case

When filing a personal injury claim for wrongful death in the OC, you need to know the different categories of damages that can be recovered. Damages for wrongful death generally fall into three main types: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic Damages

These are quantifiable financial losses resulting from the death, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Costs incurred for medical treatment prior to death.
  • Funeral and Burial Costs: Expenses for laying the deceased to rest.
  • Loss of Financial Support: Income the deceased would have provided to the family.
  • Loss of Benefits: Pension plans, health insurance, and other benefits lost.

Non-Economic Damages

These are more subjective and compensate for the emotional and psychological impact of the loss:

  • Loss of Companionship: The emotional distress caused by losing a loved one.
  • Pain and Suffering: The grief and emotional suffering experienced by the family.
  • Loss of Guidance: The absence of parental guidance and nurturing for surviving children.

Punitive Damages

In cases involving egregious misconduct or gross negligence, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages for wrongful death are intended to punish the wrongdoer and prevent similar behavior in the future.


The damages in a wrongful death claim are meant to compensate beneficiaries after losing a loved one. An attorney can help recover damages and make sure these end up with the right people.

Factors Affecting Damages for Wrongful Death
in Orange County

The amount of compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim can vary significantly based on several factors:

The Deceased's Age

Younger individuals typically result in larger awards due to their longer expected lifespan and the extended duration of financial support they would have provided. The wrongful death suit will demonstrate the potential income, wages, and benefits that would have been earned if the victim had become older.

Earning Potential

The deceased’s earning capacity and career trajectory play a crucial role in determining the financial losses incurred by the family.

Impact on the Family

The emotional and psychological toll on the surviving family members is also considered. This includes the loss of companionship, emotional support, and guidance.

Circumstances of the Death

The specific circumstances surrounding the result of the person’s death can influence the damages awarded, particularly in cases involving gross negligence or intentional harm.

Wrongful Death Claim vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuit

What’s the difference between the two?


A wrongful death claim is typically filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek compensation without going to court. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit  to get compensation through the court system.

Wrongful Death Claim

  • Filing with Insurance: The initial step involves filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer.
  • Negotiation: The claimant’s attorney will negotiate a settlement with the insurer.
  • Settlement: If both parties agree on a fair compensation amount for wrongful death damages, the case is settled out of court.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

  • Filing a Lawsuit: If negotiations fail, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.
  • Court Proceedings: Both parties present their case, and a judge or jury determines the outcome.
  • Judgment Award: The court decides the compensation amount, which may include punitive damages.

The Role of a Personal Injury Attorney
in Negligence Claim

the role of a personal injury attorney in negligence claim

Filing a wrongful death claim involves steps that necessitate the expertise of an experienced Orange County wrongful death attorney. Here’s why engaging legal counsel is to your advantage:

A knowledgeable injury lawyer understands the nuances of wrongful death action in Orange County and can guide you through the entire process, ensuring all necessary documentation is filed correctly and promptly.


Note that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death in the State of California is two years from the date of death.

Case Evaluation

An attorney can evaluate the merits of your case, identify the potential damages you may be entitled to, and develop a strategic plan to maximize your payout.

Negotiation Skills

Insurance companies often attempt to minimize payouts. Having a skilled negotiator on your side can help secure a fair settlement that reflects the true extent of your loss.

Trial Experience

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, a skilled Orange County wrongful death lawyer with trial experience can represent you in court, presenting a compelling case to achieve the best possible outcome.

A successful wrongful death case is one that holds the responsible party accountable and provides closure for the loved ones left behind. It also maximizes the damages available for wrongful death action, so that financial burdens can be eased and future security can be ensured for the surviving family members and beneficiaries.

Loved One Died in an Accident? File a Wrongful Death Claim and Get Compensation Now.
Call RTM Law for a Free Consultation.

Losing a loved one to wrongful death is an unimaginable tragedy, and no amount of money can fully make up for such a loss. However, being aware of the types of damages available and the factors that influence them can provide some financial relief and support for your family.


If you want to file for wrongful death in Orange County, seek legal help immediately.


RTM Law Firm is ready to assist you with compassion and expertise. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Orange County will guide you through the process. We have helped numerous clients win. Let us do the same for you.


Call us at (949) 2874342 for a free case review.




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