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Northern California Personal Injury Attorneys

For others, it’s business.
For us, it’s personal

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Wrongful Death Skydiving Accident


School Bus vs. Pedestrian Accident


Train Maintenance Vehicle vs. Auto


3rd-Degree Burns During a Pedicure


Paraplegia from Defective Seat


Pick-up Truck vs. Pedestrian Accident


Auto vs. Bicycle Accident


Auto vs. Elderly Pedestrian


Physical Abuse


Big Rig vs. Auto Accident

Awards and Recognitions

  • California Trial Lawyer of the Year, Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC)
  • Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association – “Outstanding Trial Advocacy Award” Awarded “in recognition of exceptional trial results.”
  • Newsweek Top Law Firms
  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell as “an attorney of exemplary reputation who has a significant client base and high professional standing”
  • California Lawyers Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award
  • Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) – “Presidential Award of Merit” Awarded in recognition of “contributions to the legal profession, the plaintiff’s bar and the community.”
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
  • Top Rated Attorney by Super Lawyers
  • Santa Clara County Trial Lawyer of the Year, Award Winner
  • Santa Clara County Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2x Finalist
  • Lawyers of Distinction 2022 & 2023
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Resolution of Commendation, U.S. House of Representatives, stating in part, “Paul Caputo has demonstrated a commitment to protect the rights of the consumer, to safeguard the environment and to apply his knowledge and experience in the field of law to the promotion of the public good”
  • Top Rated Attorneys on Yelp & Google

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All Awards and Honors
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California Personal Injury Lawyers

More About Us Meet the team

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to another party’s negligence, you may feel that you have limited options: either hire an attorney or file a claim directly with the insurance company and hope for the best. When you’re facing mounting medical bills and missing time from work, you may think you can’t afford a professional personal injury attorney.

However, California personal injury lawyers, like you’ll find at Caputo and Van Der Walde - Injury & Accident Attorneys, work on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay out of pocket for the professional advice of a personal injury lawyer. Call Caputo & Van Der Walde to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

Areas We Serve

Our Practice Areas

Unlike many other causes of harm, assault involves an intent to do harm to the victim. While assault is a criminal offense under California law, personal injury lawyers can also pursue damages in a separate civil case. In cases involving assault, victims are entitled to punitive damages to punish and deter the offender from engaging in the same conduct again. The relative wealth of the defendant has to be assessed in these cases so that the amount of punitive damages actually punish and deter. Therefore, wealthy offenders will have to pay more in punitive damages than others who live more modestly.

Bicycle IconBicycle Accidents Brain IconBrain Injuries Bonfire IconBurn Injuries

Bus and mass transit accidents are common occurrences in the state of California. In addition to their sheer size which presents a danger to other drivers, bus passengers are also at risk. Sudden stops or turns can cause passengers to fall out of their seats, be thrown or strike their heads against seats or windows.

Pet owners are required by law to keep control of their dogs, either via a leash, a fixed chain, or a fence. When a dog bites or otherwise attacks an individual, the owner or their insurance company is liable for their injuries. There is no need to show that the animal was dangerous or had previously acted aggressively.

Food IconFood Poisoning

Motorcycles travel at high speeds and offer little protection for the rider. As a rule, motorcyclists who have been involved in accidents sustain serious injuries. While any motor vehicle accident is dangerous, motorcycle accidents are particularly dangerous to the riders and require the specialized knowledge of a seasoned personal injury firm such as Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP.

Old Man IconPedestrian Accidents

The state of California accounts for about 10% of all car accidents in the U.S., making this a frequent cause of personal injury claims. In fact, about 80% of all personal injury claims involve automobile accidents. Caputo & Van Der Walde has experience handling all types of car accidents and knows how to pursue fair compensation for the victims of automobile collisions.

Cloud IconCarbon Monoxide Poisoning Tsunami IconCatastrophic Injuries Crane IconConstructions Accidents

Premises owners have a duty of care for visitors and their employees. Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of premises liability accidents, and are often referred to as “slip and fall” or “trip and fall law.” Slip/trip and fall accidents are particularly prevalent in areas where there are tree roots lifting sidewalks, freshly mopped floors without warning signs, restaurants and construction sites.

The manufacturers of products have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their products for consumers. Under California’s strict liability law, the defendant in a product liability is responsible for damages if there is a design, warning or manufacturing defect that results an an injury to a consumer. If you’ve been injured due to a defective unit, a defective design, poor instructions, or a manufacturer’s failure to inform you of potential dangers, contact the California personal injury attorneys at Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP.

Spine IconSpinal Cord Injuries

With their massive weight and length, commercial trucks are arguably the most dangerous vehicles on California roadways. However, truck accidents present unique challenges, so many California personal injury attorneys are hesitant to handle these cases. However, the lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde have the knowledge and the legal understanding of these complex cases to successfully pursue your truck accident claim.

A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to someone else’s negligence. Wrongful death cases can arise at the time of the event, or weeks or months later if it is caused by the harm sustained in the incident . In order to bring a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must have had a legally recognized relationship with the decedent to recover damages. In California, the following individuals have standing to file a claim:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • If there is no spouse, the surviving children of the deceased
  • If there are no surviving children, the parents of the deceased
  • If the parents are not alive, other heirs of the estate
  • If there were no heirs of the estate, the next of kin
  • If none of the above relationships exist, the personal representative of the estate can pursue damages

For instance, if an auto accident victim succumbs to a catastrophic injury, and is married at the time of the incident, the spouse can pursue damages. If there is no spouse, the right to pursue financial compensation in wrongful death cases from the parties responsible passes down the above list.

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Client Testimonials

Truck Accident

A former client discusses her experience working with Caputo & Van Der Walde after being seriously injured in a truck accident.

Personal Injury

A former client discusses her experience working with Caputo & Van Der Walde after suffering serious burns at a day spa.

FAQs About Personal Injuries

These are some of the most commonly asked questions by our personal injury clients. For specific answers to your questions, talk to a Caputo & Van Der Walde personal injury attorney.

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What should I do if I am injured in an accident?

While no two accidents are alike, there are measures that you can take to prevent further harm and strengthen your case. The following tips should not be construed as legal advice. For actual legal advice, contact the legal professionals at Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP, for a free consultation.

  1. Listen to Your Doctors - If you don’t need to go to the emergency room, follow up with your doctor the next day or as soon as possible. It is important that you keep all medical appointments and follow your doctor’s advice on medication, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and more. Ke sure you don’t minimize or overstate your injuries. Also, make sure to discuss all injuries, even if one is more serious that another. If you fail to obtain or follow medical advice, the other side can claim you must not be very injured. Similarly, if your conditions are not notated by your health care providers, the condition doesn’t exist as far as the insurance companies are concerned.
  2. Don’t Trust The Insurance Company – The insurance company is not your friend. They will be nice to you and try to obtain information to diminish the value of your claim. . Insurance companies stay in business by paying out as little as possible, even for valid claims. Insurance company representatives are often incentivized by the amount they pay out versus the amount they are authorized to pay and by quickly processing multiple claims.
  3. Don’t Accept an Early Accident Settlement – The insurance company may offer you money for your medical expenses and other damages, but it will invariably fall short of maximum compensation. Adjusters will often try to settle quickly to prevent claimants from talking to an accident lawyer. If you accept their settlement, you will have to sign a waiver of liability, preventing you from pursuing further damages. In almost every serious case, you will be able to get you more money after accounting for attorney’s fees than you can get on your own.

The right personal injury lawyer can examine your claim and determine what it’s actually worth. They will then begin assembling evidence to determine the facts of the case. Once they have a full understanding of the accident and the nature of your injuries, only then will they approach the insurance company with a demand letter including all evidence of liability and damages. If a demand does not resolve the case, or it is not amenable to settlement by demand, a lawsuit will be filed to protect your rights. Call Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP how they can help you wih your personal injury case.

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Who can I sue for my injuries?

This depends on who the negligent party was in your case and what type of insurance coverage they have. Typivally defendants can include the person causing injury, their employer if they were working at the time, the owner of the care involved and the owner or management company of a commercia, residential or retail establishment. Our law firm will examine your case thoroughly to determine all of the responsible parties.

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How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in California?

The statute of limitations is two years from the date of the accident, unless the injured party is a minor, a victim of childhood sexual assault, or a governmental entity is invloved.

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How much is my personal injury case worth?

This depends on the extent and duration of your injuries, past and future medical expenses, wage loss and the degree of liability of the defendant. Under California law, you can still pursue damages even if you’re partially at fault.

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Will I have to go to court if I file a personal injury claim?

Most personal injury lawsuits settle before going to court. However, if your personal injury case goes to court, you’ll want a California personal injury attorney with extensive experience representing you in court — the kind of experience that the trial lawyers at Caputo & Van Der Walde can offer.

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Common personal injuries

Personal injuries run the gamut from minor bruises and cuts to serious injuries and even death. Here are some of the most common types of injuries that a California personal injury lawyer routinely sees in their practice:

  1. Sprain/strain - This is extremely common in auto accidents. Commonly referred to as whiplash, and resulting in torn muscles, ligaments and tendons resulting from the sudden acceleration and deceleration from the head snapping forward and then backward or vice versa.
  2. Broken bones – While motor vehicle accidents commonly result in broken bones, they are also a regular part of slip and fall accident claims. Slip and fall incidents result in broken knee caps which is a very debilitating injury and usually requires knee replacement surgery.
  3. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) – These can range from minor concussions to severe injuries involving bleeding in the brain, skull fractures or even objects penetrating the brain. TBIs can result from an automobile accident, a bad fall, an assault, or any other type of accident where the head is impacted or subjected to significant forces. Serious traumatic brain injuries require a dedicated care team and significant rehabilitation. People with serious TBI often do not return to their pre-injury condition.
  4. Burns – Burns can result from exposure to heat or chemicals. Soup and hot liquid spills are the most common type of burn injuries and can result in second and third degree burns. Serious burns require skin grafting and plastic surgery to help remedy the burn scars.
  5. Spinal Injuries – Spinal injuries can involve herniated discs, and often involve preexisting asymptomatic changes from aging that become symptomatic after a car accident. This type of injury can also be quite severe, at times resulting resulting in loss of sensation and weakness in limbs or even paralysis.
  6. Catastrophic Injuries – This is a catchall term that includes any type of injury that results in a permanent or life-altering injury. These types of injury may result in a person no longer being able to work in their chosen field, or require ongoing care, often including pain management for chronic injuries.

If you’ve suffered any type of personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, seek medical treatment, and then speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about your right to pursue maximum compensation.

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Damages in a California personal injury lawsuit

The state of California operates under comparative negligence law, which means that the fault of all persons involved in an injury producing incident are compared and must total 100%. As long as someone else is partially responsible for your injuries, you can pursue damages. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident where the other driver ran a red light, but you were speeding, the court may decide that you were 20% responsible for your injuries and the other driver was 80% at fault. In that case, a personal injury lawyer would pursue your total compensation, which would be reduced by your 20% comparative fault.

The following are the three types of damages in California personal injury cases:

Economic Damages

These include all financial costs associated with your personal injury, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, the cost of ongoing medical treatment, etc. These are also referred to as Special Damages.

Non-economic Damages

Not all accident costs are financial. Non-economic damages or pain and suffering are intended to compensate injury victims for their physical pain, emotional distress, and general inconvenience. These are also referred to as General Damages.

Punitive Damages

In some instances, the courts may believe that the at-fault parties behaved in conduct that demonstrates a conscious disregard for the rights and safety of others or was intentionally calculated to hurt someone. In these cases, an injury victim is due additional damages to deter and punish the wrongdoer so that they do not engage in similar conduct in the future.

An experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with damage calculations for personal injury victims. When you contact Caputo & Van Der Walde, damage calculations are just one of the services our legal team provides for our clients. Call today for a free consultation.

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Elements of liability for negligence

To establish that the defendant was liable, you must show the following:

Duty of Care

The duty of care means that the defendant had some level of responsibility for the safety of the plaintiff. For instance, all drivers have a duty of care to act reasonably relative to others on the roadways. Property owners, especially landlords, and retail business owners, have a duty of care to inspect their property and make sure it is safe for people on the property.

Breach of Duty

In order to prove liability under California personal injury law, the plaintiff’s attorney must demonstrate the defendant somehow breached their legal duty of care. An example of this would be a driver who runs a red light because they are looking at their phone texting instead of paying attention to the traffic signal.


This means that the breach of duty caused the accident or contributed to the accident and claimed injuries.


Damages consist of the injuries, economic losses, pain and suffering and anu punitive damages that an injured person is entitled to relative to an injury they sustained due to the negligence of another.

During your initial free consultation with a personal injury lawyer from Caputo & Van Der Walde, LLP, they will determine whether negligence or other liability exists. If so, we can offer immediate legal representation on a contingency basis.

Community Involvement

We have a passion for giving back to the community we love.

Find Out More About Our Community Involvement

Hire a California Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact a law firm you can trust. Caputo & Van Der Walde has successfully handled California personal injury for years. All legal fees and costs aare only payable when we resolve your case thorough settlement or trial. If we don’t win, you pay us nothing. Call today for a free consultation.