San Jose Wrongful Death Attorneys
At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, we understand the impact an accidental
death can have on the family unit. All too often, the egregious action
of one careless individual can have life-altering consequences for an
entire innocent family. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control),
an estimated 2.9 million Americans were admitted to a hospital in 2010
for accidental injuries. Well over 120,000 of these incidents ended in
death, making it the fifth biggest cause of fatalities in the nation at the time.
Even though a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind, you need not
suffer unduly. Let our compassionate and comprehensive team at Caputo
& Van Der Walde LLP help guide you through the process and fight for
the remuneration your family requires.
Call (800) 900-0863 for Trusted Counsel—No Recovery, No Fee
Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP is an accomplished and respected personal
injury law firm located in Northern California. Our firm has protected
the legal rights of hundreds of personal injury clients, and we have
recovered millions of dollars in damages on behalf of our clients. We work together to represent you in an efficient and effective manner.
If a loved one has been fatally injured as the result of an accident,
contact our skilled
San Jose wrongful death lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP immediately.
We want to help you hold the negligent parties accountable.
Schedule your free, confidential case review today. Our wrongful death attorneys in San Jose are here for you.
Do I have a wrongful death claim?
If your loved one was fatally injured by the negligence of another person
or entity, you might have a claim for wrongful death. While financial
compensation can only do so much, this type of legal claim does allow
certain surviving family members to recover damages from the persons responsible
for the emotional and financial losses suffered.
In order to recover damages for wrongful death, an individual must be within
one of the following categories:
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner, must meet specific criteria of the state
- Children, including adopted children
- Dependent persons, parents can recover for their child's death if they
were dependent or if there are no other survivors
- Minors residing in the same household, other than children who were dependent
on the decedent
- Others, such as dependent spouses not legally married to the decedent
Usually, more than one family member will be within the class of persons
able to bring this type of lawsuit.
What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in California?
Just like a lawsuit for negligence, there is a two year period of limitation
on a lawsuit for wrongful death in California. The suit must be brought
within two years of the death of the injured person. For example, if a
husband is severely injured in an auto accident on January 1, 2010, he
must bring a lawsuit to recover for his own injuries by January 1, 2012.
If the husband dies because of his injuries on February 1, 2010, the wife
must bring a lawsuit to recover for wrongful death by February 1, 2012.
Recent Case Results for Accidental/Wrongful Death
- $3,000,000 Recovered: Truck vs. auto accident resulting in wrongful death.
- $2,000,000 Recovered: Auto accident resulting in wrongful death due to
defective highway design.
- $1,300,000 Recovered: Wrongful death as the result of an auto accident.
- Wrongful death∗ - Policy limit plus $150,000 in bad faith damages
for auto accident where driver failed to yield the right of way on a left
turn and insurance company refused to settle before trial
- Wrongful Death∗ - Big rig vs. auto accident resulting in death of
20 year old truck driver where we obtained policy limits from three separate
- $475,000 - Wrongful death - Disputed liability auto vs. pedestrian case
where elderly individual was struck while crossing the road outside of
∗Confidential settlements or settlements where Caputo & Van
Der Walde LLP secured the maximum amount of coverage available.
Click here for more verdicts and settlements.
What losses may I recover in my wrongful death claim?
Damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death claim in California are
subject to the general requirements that they are reasonable, and reasonably
certain to result in the future. Subject to these limitations, a person
entitled to sue for wrongful death can recover the following damages:
Loss of love, society, companionship, comfort, protection, care, and consortium: In determining the amount of these damages, several things are taken into
consideration, including: the closeness of the relationship involved,
the age and health of the survivor, and the life expectancy of the decedent.
Loss of services: Where a decedent performed domestic services for the survivor, such as
babysitting, the survivor may recover the value of these lost services
in a wrongful death action.
Loss of financial contributions: Where a survivor received expected financial contributions from the decedent,
they can be recovered from the negligent party. Examples of items in this
category include income, benefits, and support payments that would normally
have been used to support the surviving person.
Loss of training and advice: Where the survivor would have received training and advice from the decedent,
the survivor can recover the value of the loss. A common example: the
advice, training and moral support that children receive from their parents.
Funeral and burial expenses: Reasonable funeral and burial expenses incurred by a survivor may be recovered
in a lawsuit for wrongful death. These expenses must be considered reasonable
before they are recoverable.
A lawsuit for wrongful death is intended to compensate the survivor for
their own losses, not for the losses incurred by the decedent prior to
death. Therefore, a survivor cannot recover for the following things:
- Parents' pain, suffering, or anguish experienced by the decedent prior to death
- Parents' medical expenses or other expenditures, incurred by the decedent
prior to death
Even though these elements are not recoverable in a wrongful death action,
another remedy is available so that these expenses and other elements
can be repaid to the decedent's estate. This is called a survival
action. A survival action can be maintained where the injured party dies
from the injuries inflicted by a negligent person. The decedent's
personal representative, i.e., the executor of their estate, brings this
type of lawsuit and recovers for all economic losses personally by the
decedent prior to death. A survivor action does not include damages for
the pain and suffering experienced by the decedent, only actual quantifiable
loss, such as medical bills and lost wages.
Understanding the Time Limits in Place
One of the most important considerations involved with a lawsuit is the
timing in which the incident happened. Under California Code of Civil
Procedure, Section 335.1, any individual who wishes to pursue a wrongful
death lawsuit must do so within a time frame of no less than two years.
While there are exceptions to this rule, a good portion of the situations
fall under this code. Failing to act within the appropriate amount of
time could leave any claim up for forfeit.
What factors may contribute to my recovery amount in a wrongful death action?
Possible considerations in determining the amount of a wrongful death recovery include:
Life expectancies: Damages in a case are recoverable for the period where the survivor and
the decedent would have been alive together. Damages must be limited to
the life expectancy of the survivor or the decedent, depending on which
Earning capacity of decedent: Another consideration in determining the amount of wrongful death damages
is the amount of lost support and financial contributions from a decedent
to the survivor. The determination of exactly how much will be recoverable
for these elements can be based on factors such as the decedent's
Relationship between survivor and decedent: One other consideration affecting the recovery of damages in wrongful
death claims involves introducing evidence of the nature of the relationship
between the survivor and the decedent. The closer the relationship, the
more the damages are presumed to be.
Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP - Helping You Recover
If a loved one has been involved in an accident resulting in a wrongful
death in San Jose, you may be entitled to compensation for all losses.
Get in touch with our compassionate legal team at
Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP today. We will provide you with aggressive legal representation in order
to help you receive everything you need to move on in life.
Call our San Jose wrongful death attorneys today at