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Experience On Your Side

San Jose Wrongful Death Attorneys

Fighting for the Rights of Families in San Jose & Surrounding Areas in Santa Clara County

At Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP, we understand the impact an accidental death can have on the family unit. All too often, the egregious actions of one careless individual can have life-altering consequences for an entire innocent family.

Even though a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind, you need not suffer unduly. Let our compassionate and caring team at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP help guide you through the process and fight for the remuneration your family deserves.

Why Hire Our Firm?

  • Award-Winning Representation
  • Free, No-Obligation Consultations
  • 85+ Years of Combined Experience
  • Tens of Millions Won for Our Clients

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 victims and families, 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 you have lost a loved one as the result of a fatal 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 area are here for you.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in California?

If your loved one died as the result of another's negligent or wrongful acts, 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 ensure wrongdoers are held accountable, and recover damages for the emotional and financial losses they 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
  • Stepchildren
  • 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 personal injury, there is a two year period of limitation on a lawsuit for wrongful death in California. In most cases, this means families must filed a lawsuit within two years of the date of death.

However, if death resulted from medical malpractice, that statute of limitations is increased to three years from the date of the initial injury, or one year after plaintiffs discovers or should have discovered an injury leading to death.

Wrongful death cases against government agencies in California, such as those involving a government-operated vehicle that causes a fatal accident, adhere to different rules and procedures. In government liability cases, families have six months from the date of injury to file an initial claim.

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 insurance policies
  • $475,000 - Wrongful death - Disputed liability auto vs. pedestrian case where elderly individual was struck while crossing the road outside of a crosswalk

∗Confidential settlements or settlements where Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP secured the maximum amount of coverage available.

See more verdicts and settlements.

Case Results

What Losses May I Recover in My Wrongful Death Claim?

After the loss of a loved to another person's negligence, it is important to seek compensation to assist with the financial damages suffered. We realize that no amount of money will do justice to what you are suffering, but it can help ease the financial losses your family is experiencing.

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.

Note that 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:

  • 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, a survival action can be maintained. A survival action is 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.

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 expectancy: 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 is shorter.
  • 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.
  • 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 the San Jose area, you may be entitled to compensation for all losses. Get in touch with our compassionate wrongful death lawyers in San Jose 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 (800) 900-0863 for your FREE consultation.

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