Wrongful Death Lawyer in San Jose, CA
The legal team at Dash Injury Law Firm are experienced in dealing with wrongful death lawsuits in San Jose, CA and its surrounding areas. Most wrongful death cases involve clients who lost family members due to criminal wrongdoing, an unsafe product, medical malpractice, drunk driving, or other types of accidents caused by negligence.
We see firsthand encounters of unexpected deaths of family members. Nothing is more devastating than losing someone you love, especially if it was caused by careless or illegal conduct from another party. We try our best under these difficult situations to provide effective legal representation and counsel that is both respectful and dignified. Our San Jose, CA wrongful death lawyers want your claim to bring honor to the decedent’s life, and we will ensure that nothing denigrates their memory.
Wrongful Death as Defined by California Law
A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the wrongful act or negligence of another. Negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care, when the responsible party had a duty to do so, causing harm to another individual. According to California state law, a San Jose wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by any of the following people:
- Surviving spouse
- Domestic partner
- Personal representative of the decedent (if there are no living family members who can bring the claim)
Wrongful death cases are similar to standard personal injury lawsuits in some ways. In many types of personal injury lawsuits, negligence must be proven. Wrongful death claims and personal injury lawsuits could also be based on a similar event, such as a car accident. Our wrongful death lawyers in San Jose, CA will be able to help families file a claim and guide them through the legal complexities involved in these types of cases.
Damages in a San Jose, CA Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Families of the decedent can claim both economic and noneconomic damages (also known as general damages). While no amount of money can replace a loved one, the financial hardships caused by the death of a family member can be relieved with legal damages.
Economic Damages - The following damages cover the financial impact caused by the victim’s death:
- Financial support the decedent would have provided, including future lost earnings,
- Expenses associated with funerals, burials, cremations, etc,
- Any inheritance, gifts, or other benefits the decedent would have given family members or heirs, and
- Household services the decedent would have provided, such as child care, cooking, and cleaning.
The life expectancy of the decedent and surviving family members must be taken into account when determining economic damages. In addition, any compensation for future lost earnings must be reduced to present-day cash value.
Noneconomic Damages - These types of damages are considered more difficult to calculate or quantify. They include intangible support such as companionship, emotional support, affection, intimate relations, and more.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in San Jose, CA
The statute of limitations in San Jose and all of California for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date the person died. If your loved one’s accident occurred weeks or days prior to their death, the clock will not start until the day your loved one passes away. You will have 24 months from this date to file a wrongful death case with your county’s civil courts. If you do not file within the two-year time limit, you will lose your right to file a lawsuit.
The two-year time limit applies in a majority of cases. Some deadlines may be shorter, while other deadlines might be longer. To find out your time limit for filing, you need to discuss your situation with a wrongful death lawyer in San Jose, CA right away. If your loved one died at the hands of an entity, agency, or a government employee in California, a claim must be filed with the government entity within 6 months from the date of the injury. Once filed, the government will have 45 days to respond to the claim. If the government entity rejects the claim, you have six month from the date rejection was mailed or personally delivered to you to file a lawsuit in civil court. If you receive no rejection letter then you have 2 years to file from the date of the death of your loved one to file a civil lawsuit. However, it is highly advisable to file the claim long before the designated deadlines.
Proving Liability in a San Jose, CA Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Certain elements must be proven in order to recover compensation, regardless of who files the case. In order to obtain money from the responsible party who caused the victim’s death, the plaintiff must prove the following:
- The defendant had a legal responsibility to protect the individual from becoming injured or killed,
- That legal duty was breached by the defendant, thereby causing the accident,
- The individual died because the defendant breached their legal duty to prevent their death from happening, and
- The defendant should compensate the family members as a result of their loved one’s untimely death.
Our wrongful death lawyers in San Jose, CA can help you and your family hold the responsible parties liable for your loved one’s death.
The information contained in these pages should not be taken as a substitute for legal advice and it is in fact not legal advice, especially as to cases which are highly fact-specific.