funeral costs in orange county wrongful death

Losing a loved one is devastating, and the sudden financial burden of funeral and burial expenses can add to the distress. In Orange County, when a death is caused by someone else’s misconduct or negligent behavior, the family may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim.


This article aims to inform families and beneficiaries of wrongful death victims about where they can find the funds to cover funeral costs and other related expenses, how to maximize their settlement, and whether it is better to file a claim or a lawsuit.


In addition, this blog will highlight the role of a personal injury attorney in this process and why seeking professional legal help is beneficial.



Understanding Burial and Funeral Expenses

The expenses related to a funeral in Orange County can be substantial, often ranging from $7,000 to $12,000. Here are the typical funeral costs in Orange County wrongful death situations:

  1. Funeral Service Fees: These fees include the services provided by the funeral home, such as the use of facilities and staff, transportation of the body, and coordination of the service. On average, these fees range from $2,000 to $3,500. 
  2. Casket or Urn: The cost of a casket can vary widely, with an average price of around $2,000, though high-end caskets can cost $10,000 or more. Urns are generally less expensive, with prices ranging from $100 to $1,000. 
  3. Burial Plot and Grave Marker: Purchasing a burial plot in Orange County can cost between $1,000 and $4,000, while a grave marker or headstone typically costs between $500 and $3,000. 
  4. Cremation Fees: If cremation is chosen, the fees usually range from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the services provided. 
  5. Other Costs: Additional expenses can include obituary notices, flowers, transportation for family members, and death certificates. These can add another $500 to $1,500 to the total cost.

In total, families can expect to spend between $7,000 and $12,000 for funeral and burial expenses in the OC.

Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

When a wrongful death claim is filed, the family can seek compensation for various damages, including:

  1. Funeral and Burial Expenses, as listed above. 
  2. Medical Bills: Any medical expenses incurred before the loved one’s death can be included in the claim. This might cover hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and more. 
  3. Loss of Income: If the deceased was a primary breadwinner, the family could seek compensation for the loss of future income and benefits that the deceased would have provided. 
  4. Loss of Companionship: Families can also seek damages for the emotional loss of companionship, guidance, and support. 
  5. Pain and Suffering: Although harder to quantify, compensation for the non-economic damages like the pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death and the emotional distress of the family can also be pursued.

Orange County Wrongful Death Case: Filing a Claim vs. Filing a Lawsuit

filing a claim vs filing a lawsuit

Deciding whether to file a wrongful death claim or a lawsuit is an important decision that can impact the final settlement amount and the timeline of the case.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim is typically filed with the insurance company of the party at fault. This is often the quickest way to receive compensation, but the settlement offered by the insurance company may be lower than what could be achieved through a lawsuit. Insurance companies may aim to settle quickly and for as little as possible.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If the settlement offer from the insurance company is inadequate, filing a lawsuit may be the better option. A wrongful death lawsuit can result in a higher settlement because it allows the case to be presented in court, where a jury can decide the amount of damages. However, lawsuits can be lengthy and stressful, and there is no guarantee of success.

Wrongful Death Funeral Costs: Where Will the Settlement Money Come From?

The money to cover wrongful death costs and the final settlement typically comes from several sources:

  1. Insurance Companies: In many cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay the settlement. This could include auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or professional liability insurance, depending on the nature of the wrongful death. 
  2. Personal Assets: If the at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance coverage, their personal assets may be used to cover the settlement. 
  3. Employers or Businesses: In cases where the wrongful death occurred due to the actions of an employee or in a business setting, the employer or business may be held liable.

Note that the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in California is typically two years from the date of death, so take action as soon as possible.

Maximizing the Settlement Amount
in a Personal Injury Case

To maximize the settlement amount, families should consider the following strategies:

  1. Detailed Documentation: Keep thorough records of all expenses, including medical bills, funeral costs, and any other related expenses. Detailed documentation can help build a strong case.
  2. Professional Appraisals: For significant losses such as loss of income and benefits, professional appraisals can provide an accurate estimate of the financial impact.
  3. Expert Witnesses: In some cases, expert witnesses can provide testimony that strengthens the claim, such as medical experts or economists.
  4. Legal Representation: Hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney can significantly increase the chances of obtaining a higher settlement. Attorneys have the expertise to negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, present a compelling case in court.


Funeral costs in Orange County wrongful death cases can add up quickly and put a significant financial burden on the surviving family members. It is important to keep track of all expenses related to the funeral, including transportation costs and any other associated fees, so the attorney can factor these into the claim. 

Does the Type of Accident Affect the Compensation Value?

Yes, the type of accident that led to the death greatly influences how much beneficiaries can get after the demise of a loved one. Here are a few examples:

Car Accidents

Settlements for wrongful deaths caused by auto accidents can vary widely based on factors such as the severity of the accident, the degree of negligence, and the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver.

Medical Malpractice

Wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice often result in higher settlements due to the complexity of proving negligence and the potential for significant medical expenses.

Workplace Accidents

In cases of workplace fatalities, settlements may involve workers’ compensation benefits as well as potential claims against third parties, such as equipment manufacturers or subcontractors.

Defective Products

If a defective product caused the death, the settlement might include compensation from the manufacturer or distributor, and these cases can result in substantial awards, especially if punitive damages are involved.


Given the variations in the gravity of injuries per case, funeral costs in Orange County wrongful death accidents are, no doubt, high. This burden should not add to the pain that families are already experiencing from their loved one’s untimely passing.

How an Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney
Can Help

A wrongful death lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in several ways:

  1. Expertise and Experience: An attorney specializing in wrongful death cases will have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal process effectively. 
  2. Investigation: Attorneys can conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case. 
  3. Negotiation: Skilled negotiators can often secure higher settlements from insurance companies than families could achieve on their own. 
  4. Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, an attorney can take the case to court and present it before a jury.

  5. Peace of Mind: Having legal representation allows families to focus on healing and mourning, knowing that their case is being handled by professionals.

Loved One Died to Another's Negligence?
Get Money to Cover Funeral Costs in Orange County Wrongful Death Cases and More.
Call Our Attorney Today for a Free Consultation.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct in Orange County, you do not have to face the financial burden alone.


The experienced wrongful death attorneys at RTM Law, APC | Personal Injury Attorney are here to help you seek justice and secure the compensation you deserve. 


Allow us to assist you in this difficult time. Contact us at (949) 287-4342 for a free case evaluation.




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