San Jose Wrongful Death Attorneys

Wrongful Death FAQs

Perhaps you recently lost a domestic partner in a tragic freeway crash. Or maybe your great uncle suffered massive internal bleeding and infection after his nursing home failed to turn him over following a surgery. In any case, you likely have dozens of urgent questions about California wrongful death law. This essay attempts to address some of the most burning wrongful death FAQs, and it also provides you with a crucial, free resource you can leverage to get more specific questions answered by experienced and competent professionals.


What is the statute of limitations in California for a wrongful death action?

Two years. This means, essentially, that you have exactly two calendar years from the date of the death to launch a legal action. So, if your parent died in a car crash on April 1, 2009, you have until April 1, 2011 to get started with your claim. In general, you don't want to wait too long before looking into legal action, since the evidence from the accident can easily degrade over time. For instance, witness recollections can fade and get fuzzy, paperwork can get lost, etc. Plus, potentially liable parties might use the interim before your lawsuit to develop strategies to make sure they are held harmless.


What kinds of damages can you recover?

  • Expenses for the funeral and burial
  • Wrongful death damages to cover the loss of "training and advice" that you would have otherwise received from the decedent. For instance, a father who dies early will not have a chance to train his young son in the ways of life.
  • Loss of services/support. For instance, if a grandparent had been providing babysitting services worth $300 a week; the survivor should be compensated for the loss of those services.
  • Loss of financial contributions. These include spousal support, benefits, income, and other incoming moneys that survivors would have ordinarily received.
  • Loss of consortium, protection, companionship, love. Trying to quantify the value of the human life and the value of love and companionship is in some sense an impossible errand. But the court will consider the closeness of the relationship as well as things like the decedent's life expectancy and the survivor's health and life expectancy.

What is a survival action?

A survival action is a lawsuit typically brought by the decedent's executor to help survivors recover for economic losses that the decedent experienced before death. These include medical bills, suffering and anguish, and wages lost.


What is "negligent infliction of emotional distress"?

This is a kind of claim that certain survivors may be able to file. For instance, if you saw a parent or a child or other close relative die, you can claim serious emotional distress and make a wrongful death claim for mental suffering.


What actions can you take to make this process easier, simpler, and less stressful?

While it is possible to file a wrongful death suit by yourself and to navigate the court system without the guidance of an experienced attorney, this practice is certainly not recommended. Wrongful death law is extremely complicated, and liable parties should be expected to put up stiff legal resistance to paying your damages.

A resourceful way of dealing with these challenges is to connect with the experienced team of accidental death attorneys at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP. These personal injury specialists can provide a confidential free case evaluation. Call (800) 900-0863.


Will I have to pay for legal services upfront?

The wrongful death law firm of Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP provides something called contingency representation. This means that you only pay money for your legal fees if/when you win a verdict or recover through settlement. The payment would be a percentage of that verdict or settlement.

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