Orange County Wrongful Death Lawyer

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Orange County Wrongful Death Lawyer

Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney

The sudden death of a loved one usually has significant emotional and financial consequences for family members, colleagues, and even entire communities. If a fatal accident was caused by the carelessness of another, the law may allow for compensation for the tragic loss of a family member. An Orange County wrongful death lawyer from Corrales Law Group can help you begin the process of seeking restitution.

While no amount of money can ever restore a family, compensation can help family members regain stability and meet their needs while they cope with the loss of a father, mother, or child.

Wrongful death cases can take many different forms, and while all of these cases involve an incalculable level of loss endured by those left behind, the individual details of each case can be extremely nuanced and complex from a legal standpoint. This complexity, combined with the high stakes of such cases, calls for the intervention of an Orange County wrongful death lawyer who can help you hold negligent parties accountable and maximize the amount of recoverable damages.

If you believe a loved one’s death was caused by an irresponsible act but are unsure whether the incident in question is legally actionable, contact our firm today for a free case evaluation, this includes investigating any persons or companies that might be responsible for the death of your loved one. At Corrales Law Group, we promise to investigate every avenue of recovery.

When to Pursue a Claim for Wrongful Death in Orange County, CA

A case for wrongful death should be considered when someone dies as the result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another. In California, certain surviving family members are able to pursue a claim or lawsuit after the wrongful death of a relative.

When planning a timeline for a wrongful death action in Orange County, the first crucial element to consider is the statute of limitations. In California, claims for wrongful death are similar to personal injuries and many other civil actions in that they must be filed within two years after the incident is litigated; in this case, the wrongful death of a family member.

Within that two-year window, no one but you can decide how and when to exercise your legal rights. That being said, in almost every case, it is much better to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so that all evidence may be preserved and all responsible parties can be investigated. The wrongful death team at Corrales Law Group of Orange County is adept at managing wrongful death claims from end to end.

Our comprehensive and client-focused legal services include gathering and analyzing all of the available evidence, crafting it into a compelling case, establishing the liability of negligent or malicious parties, and evaluating and maximizing compensable damages. This valuable partnership continues through the final phases of your wrongful death suit in the form of powerful representation in negotiations and in court. We don’t stop working until you’ve been compensated for your loss.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit or Claim?

In California, only certain family members may file a claim for the wrongful death of another. While every case is different, the following family members may have a claim for wrongful death (listed in order of priority):

  • The surviving spouse of the decedent
  • The child(ren) of the decedent
  • Any other dependent minor(s) living in the decedent’s household
  • The surviving parent(s) of the decedent
  • Any other legally-established heirs of the decedent
  • The sibling(s) of the decedent
  • Next of kin (aunts, uncles, cousins, and so forth)
  • In some cases, a personal representative, acting on behalf of the decedent’s estate and approved by the court, may also have the authority to file a wrongful death action

There are some exceptions, if you have questions about whether or not you may file a claim for wrongful death, please contact our firm and ask an attorney directly.

What sort of compensation is available for family members under California Law?

Types of compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one are found in the California Code of Procedure § 377.61. Both non-economic and economic damages are considered compensable, and there is no cap on the damages you may receive. The statute as interpreted by various cases over time finds that, depending on the case, there may be compensation for:

  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, assistance, affection, protection, moral support – In short, you have lost your family member and the positive things your relationship with them brought to your life. While this loss is incalculable, we can strive to maximize the amount of legally compensable damages attached to this element.
  • Loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations – Physical gratification adds value to a partnership, and, as such, is legally compensable.
  • Loss of the decedent’s training and guidance – As an example, if the head of a family-owned business passes away without having the opportunity to pass on trade secrets to his successors, and those trade secrets are critical to the operation of the family business, this might be used as part of a strategy to maximize damages.
    The simple, everyday activities of parenting also fall under this category, however, and must also be accounted for when a life is wrongfully taken.
  • Loss of financial support – Direct financial benefit to the decedent’s dependents is often one of the simpler elements to calculate, but it is by no means the extent of compensable damages in a wrongful death case.
  • Loss of gifts or benefits – Less obvious financial benefits can also be included when seeking compensation, so long as they can be demonstrated to the court’s satisfaction.
  • Funeral and burial expenses – Do not forget the often-substantial cost of your loved one’s final expenses when seeking compensation for their wrongful death. These costs should be explicitly factored into any settlement offer. You, as the grieving family, should not be expected to cover them out of pocket nor pay for them out of your impending award for damages.
  • Loss of household services – Yes, even the decedent’s everyday labor as a member of your household should be considered when trying to calculate a target settlement amount.

How much will it cost to investigate and file a claim for wrongful death?

Our firm works on a contingency basis for wrongful death claims, this means you will not pay anything until there is monetary recovery. This means Corrales Law Group will pay all upfront costs of investigations, hiring of experts, retaining all medical records, etc.

This arrangement is not only convenient but pays for itself in peace of mind. Instead of worrying about trying to cover an hourly rate for top-quality legal work, you can focus on your healing, your family, and your future. When a settlement or judgment is awarded in your favor, we simply receive a percentage for our services. Meanwhile, you receive the financial support you need to see your way through this challenging time, without ever worrying about legal fees or setting up a payment plan.

One major benefit of hiring our firm on a contingency basis is our incentive is to obtain the maximum recovery for our clients. The more compensation you receive, the more successful we are as a firm. You can rest assured we can deploy the full depth of our legal prowess in pursuing your wrongful death claim and fight for every dollar that is rightfully owed to you for what you and your family have suffered.

Orange County, CA: Common Wrongful Death Scenarios

As noted, wrongful death cases can take on a variety of different forms, calling for a deep, broad knowledge of civil litigation strategies. Any case in which negligence or malicious intent resulted in death could warrant a wrongful death claim by the surviving family. Some of the wrongful death scenarios the team at Corrales Law Group is equipped to take on include:

  • Medical Malpractice – Wrongful death claims related to medical malpractice incidents may be subject to specific regulations and can become complicated by the involvement of corporate health systems and insurance carriers. Your wrongful death attorney from Corrales Law Group can help keep your medical malpractice case on track for a resolution that is both swift and favorable.
    A fatal medication overdose administered by a nurse due to a doctor’s typo would be an example of a wrongful death in a medical malpractice context. Many other medical malpractice wrongful death suits are related to surgical errors or the neglect of vulnerable patients in long-term care facilities.
  • Workplace Fatalities – Despite a supposed commitment to safety at all levels of Californian government and industry, workplace fatalities continue to be a sad reality in the state, with over 400 occurring each year, and an additional 75+ among self-employed workers. An employer’s desire to avoid high-profile legal proceedings can sometimes be leveraged advantageously when seeking to maximize settlements.
    Orange County residents, and Americans in general, have a reasonable expectation of safety in the workplace. Almost any on-the-job fatality could be considered eligible for a workers’ compensation claim, so long as the incident wasn’t entirely caused by the decedent’s own negligence or malfeasance.
  • Automobile Accidents – Orange County’s busy roadways see a large number of fatalities every single year, and many more are injured. Many of these tragic crashes are very much avoidable and will be legally compensable due to underlying factors like distracted driving, improper speeds, or failure to yield by other parties involved in the accident. Because California is a no-fault state, at-fault drivers can be held liable for damages.
  • Defective Products – When a faulty or inherently dangerous product leads directly to the death of a consumer, loved ones may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer or distributor.
    To demonstrate product liability in court, you and your attorney must be able to prove that the product had a specific defect, that the product was being used in a routine or “reasonably foreseeable” manner, and that the defect led directly to whatever injury caused the death. A car model with a catastrophic engine flaw that leads to massive explosions, killing several drivers, would be an example of a wrongful death suit related to a defective product.
  • Premises Liability – Deaths that take place on someone else’s property may be legally compensable in some cases. For such incidents to be considered wrongful deaths, they must typically have occurred due to negligence on the property owner’s part, such as poor maintenance or inadequate security.
    The decedent must have also been on the property lawfully, such as by an explicit or implied invitation or while using a legally established easement. An example would be a fatal head injury from a slip-and-fall accident at a shopping center where wet, soapy floors had not been properly signed or restricted from use. In this case, the shopping center’s failure to warn of hazards could be considered negligence that led to a wrongful death.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of legally actionable wrongful death scenarios and is meant only to illustrate the depth and breadth of our firm’s legal acumen in these high-stakes matters. Our knowledge of related areas like insurance, workers’ compensation, and personal injury allows us to provide world-class legal representation to clients facing a diverse range of wrongful death scenarios.

Corrales Law Group is not merely another Southern California personal injury firm; we are dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of grieving Orange County families when they need help the most.

FAQs About Orange County, CA Wrongful Death Laws

How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take in California?

The total length of time necessary to successfully litigate a wrongful death suit from end to end in Orange County, CA, will vary based on a range of factors. These factors include the complexity of the case, the responsiveness and disposition of other parties involved, local court caseloads, and the quality of your attorney, among other lesser details.

The ideal way to manage these timelines effectively is to work with a reputable Orange County attorney who is well-established in the realm of wrongful death claims.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Calculated?

There are a variety of specific factors that can be included when calculating a settlement or judgment for a wrongful death claim in California, ranging from direct financial benefits to less tangible damages, such as the loss of emotional and physical companionship. Even the decedent’s value in household chores and as a mentor can be argued for by a skilled attorney.

The decedent’s final expenses should also be comprehensively addressed by any settlement. To find a more detailed breakdown of these compensable factors, scroll up the page.

What Is the Burden of Proof for Wrongful Death?

To prove wrongful death in the state of California, a qualifying plaintiff and their legal counsel must be able to demonstrate the defendant’s misconduct, negligence, or recklessness and also demonstrate that this wrongdoing led or contributed directly to the death in question.

This must be done with a “preponderance of evidence.” In an Orange County civil court, this means, in the simplest terms, that enough evidence has been presented to satisfy the court that the claims are most likely to be true.

Who Gets the Money from a Wrongful Death Settlement in California?

Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, the beneficiaries of a wrongful death settlement could include the decedent’s surviving spouse and children, their parents, or heirs named in a will. In rare cases, a legally appointed administrator may even be able to sue on behalf of a decedent’s estate when no qualifying heirs can be identified.

You may wish to contact the attorneys at Corrales Law Group for assistance in determining whether you are qualified to bring a wrongful death claim to court under state law.

What Is the Cap on Wrongful Death Damages in California?

In the state of California, non-economic damages are capped at $500,000 for wrongful death claims involving medical malpractice. This means that damages without a direct financial value, like pain and suffering, cannot be compensated by more than $500,000. This amount increases periodically to adjust for inflation. However, wrongful death claims that don’t involve medical malpractice have no damages cap, meaning all damages can be compensated, provided they can be proven in court.

Speak to One of Our Experienced Orange County Wrongful Death Attorneys Today!

Our firm has handled many wrongful death claims for families. Our goal is to make your extremely difficult situation as easy as possible. Our firm will work to ease your mind and to make sure any responsible party is held financially accountable.

With our long track record of success in this area of law, we understand that finding the energy to take legal action during this time of grief can be extremely challenging. However, we also know that it can be crucial for qualifying plaintiffs to act swiftly to ensure the strongest evidence is available for building a case.

This is why we aim to take as much of the burden of seeking justice off your shoulders as we are legally able. We do this in the form of responsive support, solid advice, confidentiality, compassion, and contingency fee-based services that eliminate any stress about paying legal fees.

Call us today to speak directly with an experienced attorney about the case for free.

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Corrales Law Group aims to assist our clients with all legal matters. Feel free to contact us with any legal questions and we will do our best to help.


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