Have you ever thought about what would happen if one day you or a loved one didn’t return home from work due to a fatal accident? This chilling thought is a sad reality for many families.


In Kern County, where industries like agriculture, oil, and manufacturing dominate, the risk of workplace accidents is an ever-present concern. Understanding your rights is the first step in seeking justice for a wrongful death case for a Bakersfield workplace accident.



file for wrongful death in bakersfield

Workplace fatalities can and do happen, even with safety protocols in place. The incidence of fatal workplace accidents in Bakersfield has drawn attention to the importance of employer accountability.


While specific statistics for Bakersfield vary annually, California reported over 400 work-related deaths in recent years. Industries prevalent in Bakersfield, such as oil extraction and agriculture, are frequently identified as high-risk sectors. This data not only highlights the risks that workers in these sectors face daily but also emphasizes the need for stringent safety standards.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death in the Workplace

Wrongful deaths in the workplace can result from various hazards. Here are some common causes:

1. Falls

A leading cause of workplace fatalities, falls often occur in construction and industrial settings due to inadequate fall protection or safety training.

2. Vehicle Accidents

Accidents involving forklifts, trucks, and other heavy machinery can be fatal, especially when safety protocols are not followed.

3. Machinery Accidents

Workers can suffer fatal injuries from unguarded machinery or equipment malfunctions in manufacturing and industrial environments.

4. Exposure to Harmful Substances

Toxic chemical exposure, leading to illnesses or acute reactions, can be deadly, particularly in industries like manufacturing and agriculture.

5. Electrocutions

Electrical accidents are common in construction and maintenance work, often due to improper handling of equipment or lack of safety measures.

6. Fires and Explosions

Faulty equipment or unsafe handling of flammable materials can lead to fires or explosions, resulting in severe injuries or death.

Employer Accountability and Workers' Compensation

employer accountability and workers compensation

In California, workers’ compensation is designed to provide relief to families without needing to prove fault on part of the employer. It covers medical costs, lost wages, and death benefits. However, it limits the ability to pursue further legal action against the employer for damages such as pain and suffering or loss of life quality.


However, if an employer is found to have acted with gross negligence or violated safety regulations, it is possible to step outside the boundaries of workers’ compensation and file a lawsuit. This legal action can address the broader spectrum of damages families endure, providing a route to more substantial compensation.


Several laws come into play when you file for wrongful death in Bakersfield due to a workplace accident:

California Workers' Compensation Act

This is the foundational law providing immediate but limited relief to the bereaved family. It prevents most lawsuits against employers but specifies conditions under which additional legal action could be appropriate.

California Labor Code Section 3602(b)

This section provides exceptions to the rule that workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy. If the death resulted from an employer’s physical assault or was due to a power press malfunction, surviving family members might pursue claims outside of workers’ compensation.

California Civil Code Section 377.60

This statute delineates who can file a wrongful death claim, which typically includes immediate family members, and outlines the types of compensation available, encompassing both economic and non-economic damages.

Knowledge of these laws helps families file for wrongful death in Bakersfield with clarity, ensuring they pursue all possible avenues for justice and compensation.

Workers' Compensation Death Benefits in California

When a work-related injury or illness results in death, the consequences for the deceased’s family can be both emotionally devastating and financially challenging.


California’s Department of Industrial Relations outlines specific death benefits under the workers’ compensation program to support the families of workers who have died due to work-related causes. Here’s a detailed look at what these benefits entail:

Eligibility for Death Benefits

Death benefits are payable to the deceased worker’s spouse, children, or other dependents. The eligibility for these benefits hinges on the proof that the death was directly related to a work injury or occupational disease.

Death benefits are payable to the deceased worker’s spouse, children, or other dependents. The eligibility for these benefits hinges on the proof that the death was directly related to a work injury or occupational disease.

1. Burial Expenses: California provides for the burial expenses of the deceased worker. The amount allotted for these expenses varies depending on the date of the injury:

  • For injuries occurring before January 1, 2013, the maximum coverage is $5,000.
  • For injuries on or after January 1, 2013, the coverage increases to $10,000.

2. Dependent Benefits: The core of death benefits is the financial support provided to the dependents of the deceased. The amount of the benefit depends on the number of dependents and their status as either total or partial dependents. Here’s how it’s generally structured:

  • Totally Dependent Minors: If the deceased worker has minor dependents who are totally dependent, the benefits continue until the youngest minor reaches the age of 18. If a minor is disabled, benefits may continue for the duration of the disability, potentially for life.
  • Benefit Amounts: Payments are made at the total temporary disability (TTD) rate, which is not less than $224 per week.

Recoverable Damages in a Bakersfield
Wrongful Death Accident

Beyond workers’ compensation, a wrongful death lawsuit can recover broader damages:

  • Economic Damages: These include loss of future earnings the deceased would have contributed to the family, medical expenses incurred prior to death, and funeral costs.
  • Non-economic Damages: These address the more subjective costs of death such as emotional distress, loss of companionship, and psychological impact on the deceased’s loved ones.

Statute of Limitations for Filing California
Wrongful Death Claims

The timing to file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim for death benefits is strictly regulated:

  • If the death occurs within one year of the date of injury (DOI), the claim must be filed within one year from the date of death.
  • If the death occurs more than one year from the DOI, file a claim within one year from the date of the last furnishing of any benefits, or within one year from the date of death.
  • However, no claims can be initiated more than 240 weeks from the DOI.

File for Wrongful Death in Bakersfield:
The Role of a Wrongful Death Lawyer

Handling a wrongful death claim requires legal expertise. A knowledgeable Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer can offer crucial support by:

  • Conducting thorough investigations to uncover negligent behavior or environments.
  • Navigating the claims process with employers and insurance companies.
  • Advocating for the family in court, if necessary, to ensure fair compensation.

Loved One Died While at Work?
File a Wrongful Death Claim for Compensation.
Talk to Our Bakersfield Wrongful Death Lawyer.
Free Consultation.

The loss of a loved one in a preventable workplace accident is a profound injustice. Armed with the right knowledge and legal support, families can fight for the accountability and compensation they deserve.


If your family has faced such a tragedy, let our wrongful death attorney fight for you and file for wrongful death in bakersfield.


RTM Law, APC Personal Injury Attorney has experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyers who will fight tooth and nail to see you succeed. Losing a loved one is painful enough. Allow us to handle the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on healing.


Consultation is free. We won’t charge a single cent until we win.


Give our personal injury attorney a call at (661) 402-3200.




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