Pleasanton Wrongful Death Attorneys

Wrongful Death FAQs


When might the family member of a deceased person be entitled to file a lawsuit for "wrongful death"?

The legal definition of what constitutes a "wrongful" act is somewhat fluid and flexible. In general, the courts will consider recklessness, negligence, carelessness, and intentional acts to be grounds for wrongful death suits. For instance, say a driver mindlessly yapping on his cell phone swerves across a lane and knocks a moving truck off the road, killing one of the passengers inside the truck. He could likely be sued for wrongful death. Likewise, someone who commits a deliberate murder can be sued for wrongful death in civil court. For instance, a gang member who shoots a rival in the head can be tried for murder in criminal court and simultaneously sued in civil court for wrongful death.


How long do you have to file for a wrongful death claim?

The answer depends on something called a "statute of limitation."

This is essentially a time limit for your case. Different states have different statutes of limitation for wrongful death. If you wait past this time limit before commencing legal action, you will lose your right to sue, even if you have a strong case against a person or institution.


How will a wrongful death settlement be allocated among various relatives and dependents?

Your state's laws along with relevant documents will inform how any settlement will be broken up and divided. In general, the court will seek to protect the interest of close relatives and dependents, such as minor children of the deceased and spouses.


If someone got hurt in an accident and later died, can that person's wife or other family member continue the lawsuit?

Yes. Through so-called "survival statutes," a widow or widower or other relative can continue the legal action against a negligent, careless, or reckless third-party for damages.


Is a wrongful death case the same thing as a medical malpractice case?

No. Medical malpractice occurs when a caregiver, like a surgeon or a nurse, proves derelict in his or her duty; and, as a result of this primary negligence or carelessness, a patient suffers serious harm. That harm can include death, but it doesn't necessarily have to. So you can have wrongful death medical malpractice cases. But wrongful death is actually a broader umbrella term that covers other kinds of accidents, such as fatal construction injuries, fatal motorcycle and car accidents, deaths caused by malfunctioning machinery, and so forth.


Where can I go for help with my wrongful death case?

If you are located in Pleasanton, connect today with Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, a dedicated personal injury law firm with a powerful team and an exceptional track record. Read more about your rights as a victim's relative and get in touch with the team today at (800) 900-0863.

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