Losing a loved one due to an accident is heart-wrenching, but the even sadder reality is that families still have to grapple with the financial aspect of the sudden demise. 


In the United States, accidental deaths are one of the leading causes of death among individuals between 1-44 years old. This includes car accidents, falls, and drug misuse. These sudden losses can leave families in a financial crisis, especially if the deceased was the primary breadwinner.


Losing a loved one is never easy, but losing them to an accident adds an extra layer of pain and shock. No one ever expects or prepares for such tragedies, which makes dealing with them all the more difficult.


This blog aims to clarify what constitutes a wrongful death case, who the beneficiaries are, and most importantly, how funeral expenses in wrongful death are handled.



What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Case in California?

funeral expenses in wrongful death

A wrongful death case arises when a person dies as a result of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity.


This could be due to a car accident caused by another driver, a hazardous condition on a property that was not remedied, medical malpractice, or through other negligent actions. The fundamental premise is that the death would not have occurred but for the wrongful behavior of the defendant.


Under California law, filing a claim aims to compensate the deceased’s surviving family for the financial and emotional losses they suffer due to the death of their loved one, including wrongful death funeral costs.

Who Are the Beneficiaries in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The beneficiaries in a wrongful death are the individuals entitled to compensation from the outcomes of the case. These typically include:

  • The deceased person’s surviving spouse or domestic partner,
  • The deceased person’s children,
  • If there are no surviving descendants of the deceased, then the individuals who would be entitled to the estate under California’s intestate succession laws, which could include parents or siblings, may be beneficiaries.

These beneficiaries are eligible to receive damages for losses suffered following the death of their family member. These can include loss of financial support, loss of love and companionship, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of household services the deceased provided.

Who Will Pay for Funeral Expenses in Wrongful Death?

who will pay for funeral expenses in wrongful death

Dealing with the cost of having a funeral is stressful, but understanding how these expenses can be managed may provide some relief. In addition to medical bills, funeral costs are considered part of the economic damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. Here’s how it can be handled:

Insurance Policies

In many cases, the deceased may have had a life insurance policy that includes coverage for funeral expenses. It’s important to review any insurance policies the deceased had, as they might provide the necessary funds.

Wrongful Death Settlement

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the cost of the funeral and burial can be claimed as part of the settlement. These expenses are factored into the overall compensation provided by the liable party or their insurance provider. Families should keep detailed records and receipts related to funeral expenses to ensure these costs are adequately covered in the claim.

Estate Contributions

The deceased’s estate might also have sufficient assets to cover wrongful death funeral costs. This can be used temporarily until a wrongful death claim is settled or an insurance claim is paid out.

Government Assistance

For families facing financial difficulties, there may be government programs that can assist with funeral expenses. These vary by location and circumstances, so consulting with a local social services office may provide additional options.

How High Do Funeral Costs Reach in California?

In California, funeral expenses in wrongful death can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.


The average cost for just a basic funeral service is around $10,000, not including additional expenses such as flowers, catering, and transportation. If the deceased had specific requests for their funeral or if there are multiple services involved (such as a viewing and burial), these costs can quickly add up.


Items that can affect the cost of setting up a funeral include the type of casket, the location and size of the burial plot, and any special requests for a service or gathering. Some funeral homes may also charge additional fees for services such as embalming, use of their facilities, or transportation.


In addition to these, there may also be legal fees associated with the death and distribution of assets. These can include probate fees, estate taxes, and attorney’s fees if a will needs to be processed.

Why Working With a Wrongful Death Attorney
is Necessary

When you file a wrongful death claim, you are seeking compensation for the loss of your loved one. This can include financial support they would have provided, as well as emotional and psychological damages. However, handling the legal system while also grieving can be overwhelming.


A wrongful death attorney has experience handling these types of cases and can provide guidance and support throughout the entire process. A lawyer can ensure that you receive fair compensation for your loss and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. It also allows you to focus on healing and processing your emotions instead of dealing with complex personal injury matters alone.

Worried About Funeral Costs After a Loved One’s Wrongful Death? Get a Free Consultation From an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in California.

If your family is dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one and you need help understanding your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to, contact the compassionate attorneys at RTM Law Firm. We are dedicated to helping you through this tough time and ensuring you receive the justice and support you need.


Don’t worry about where to find money to pay for funeral expenses in wrongful death. Our compassionate legal team can help you secure the financial compensation you need to cover these costs and more. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family. We will stand by your side through it all.


Call us at (949) 287-4342. Zero fees until we win.




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