Fullerton Wrongful Death Lawyer

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Any injury is devastating to endure, but when someone’s negligence leads to a fatal injury and you lose someone you love, it can seem almost impossible to endure. Unfortunately, there are countless situations where this happens, and they fall under wrongful death matters, an area of personal injury law that affords family members specific rights to take legal action against the person responsible for the fatal injuries. 

At Pirnia Law Group, we know just how serious wrongful death cases are. We truly believe that the family deserves to protect their rights and pursue justice on behalf of their lost loved one. We are committed to handling wrongful death matters fully so you can focus on grieving with your family while we handle the complex matters. Trust that your family is our top priority and we stand ready to champion your best interests.

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What are California’s Wrongful Death Laws?

In California, wrongful death laws allow specific family members to file a wrongful death claim in any situation where someone’s negligent actions result in fatal injuries.

Whether the death occurs because of a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, medical malpractice, or other form of negligence, there may be legal remedies available to hold the person responsible liable for the pain caused. 

Typically, the family members go through the process almost as if the deceased would have filed a personal injury lawsuit had he or she survived the injuries. The family must work to show the same factors of negligence and prove liability. It’s vital to have legal representation during this time as the defendant in the case may be quick to deny liability, making it difficult to get through the process alone.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Like any other state, California limits who can file a lawsuit for a wrongful death and what actions may be available. In a wrongful death action, certain family members take precedence when filing a lawsuit.

The order of individuals who can file a wrongful death lawsuit goes like this: 

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner is typically first in line to file a suit.

  • Next in line is any surviving children the individual may have either with the surviving spouse or should no surviving spouse.

  • Should there be no surviving children or spouse, the surviving parents may have a legal claim.

  • If the deceased has no surviving family members, California allows another individual who may have relied on the deceased person beneficially to take legal action.


In California, there are wrongful death actions brought forth by the family of the deceased to recover losses associated with the death such as pain and suffering, lost income, and more. There are also survival actions that are filed by the deceased individual’s personal representative. This type of claim is to act similarly to a personal injury lawsuit the individual would have filed had he or she survived.

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Accidents Commonly Resulting in a Wrongful Death

There are many accidents that can lead to fatal injuries, especially when you think of the possible negligence that exists in many different situations. For instance, a wrongful death can arise in a truck accident, especially when you consider the size of these trucks and the speeds at which they travel. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents can all result in fatal injuries. 

Aside from motor vehicle accidents, some of the other common causes of a wrongful death include the following:


  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Assault
  • Dog attacks
  • Medical malpractice
  • Drowning


Recognizing the potential causes can give you a strong idea of causation, which is what helps to play a role in proving liability after a wrongful death. With this information and a lawyer, you can build a strong case moving forward.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case

When you file a wrongful death case, the purpose is to not only pursue justice and hold the negligent party accountable; you want to be able to obtain compensation as well. Damages in a wrongful death case can vary, but in any situation, the amount you may recover can help with a number of financial and emotional losses you and your family may experience after the wrongful death.

Damages in wrongful death claims can include the following:


  • Economic damages: These are for financial losses associated with the death such as the cost of burial and a funeral, medical expenses incurred from the date of the injury until the date of the death, lost income, and lost earning capacity (future income).

  • Non-economic damages: These consider the emotional damages you and your family endure after a wrongful death. Typically, they can cover lost consortium, guidance, companionship, support, and more.


In a survivor action brought forth by the estate, there may be additional compensation in the form of punitive damages that may be sought in any case where the deceased party incurred economic losses prior to death. Punitive damages may only be available in cases where the cause of the fatal injury was done with malice or intent.

FAQ: 

How are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

After a wrongful death, it’s important to determine how the settlement is paid out, but it’s often dependent on the type of claim being filed and what the compensation covers.

For instance, there are claims that focus on awarding the family compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured. This includes expenses for lost guidance and consortium.

This can also include lost income and earning potential. Then there are claims for lost expenses, which pays out for medical and funeral expenses.

Insurance companies are most often responsible for the settlement depending on how the accident occurred.

How Do I Choose a Wrongful Death Attorney?

Choosing a wrongful death attorney means having the comfort and confidence in someone to represent your family to the fullest.

Enduring the death of a loved one due to negligence is never easy, but having a truly capable and understanding attorney on your side can help you navigate the legal complexities in a way that focuses on your family’s well-being.

You want to have someone you can trust and who has a reputation of being successful in the field to best protect your needs and your rights to compensation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Much like other accident cases, the statute of limitations involved in wrongful death claims is similar to those of any other personal injury matter. In these cases, you have two years from the date of the death to file your claim.

However, there may be underlying circumstances that prolong the wrongful death action, such as if there’s a criminal investigation regarding the wrongful death and the defendant in your case is facing charges.

In these situations, make sure you speak with a lawyer about how long you may have.

What are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims?

Wrongful death cases arise from all types of negligence, but there are some situations that can be more fatal than others given the circumstances.

For instance, a truck accident may be more fatal than a car accident, and medical malpractice may be more fatal than a slip and fall. In any case, it’s vital to recognize where negligence may fall and who is responsible because there are many situations that can result in fatal injuries.

The only thing that really changes in these matters is who is paying out (which type of insurance company).

What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Claim?

A wrongful death claim is one that is filed by the surviving family member against the responsible party to recover compensation related to the loss.

However, there’s a separate action (a survival claim) that is filed by the deceased person’s estate to pursue compensation that the individual would have received in a personal injury case had that individual survived his or her injuries.

CONTACT A Fullerton Wrongful Death Attorney

Our Fullerton personal injury lawyers at Pirnia Law Group has a staunch focus on you and your family during such a devastating time. Wrongful death cases must be handled with care and compassion. As such, we work hard to ensure you know your rights and options, and make strong decisions regarding how to proceed with the legal action. 

We’ll explain the wrongful death claim and survival action, as well as help you understand what your options are. Trust that we make your family our highest priority, and we won’t back down until we help you pursue the justice you need and deserve on behalf of your lost loved one.

We offer our legal counsel on a contingency fee basis, which means you can have strong counsel without having to worry about any out-of-pocket expenses. Even more, you don’t pay unless we win on your behalf and get you the compensation you need.

Call our firm today and speak with a member of our team about your rights in a free consultation.