San Jose Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have recently lost a loved one, let our team – first, foremost, and always – extend our sincere condolences. We have extensive experience representing the interests of surviving loved ones, so we are all too aware that there are few, if any, words we can say that can bring you much comfort in the wake of a tragic loss. Therefore, we extend an invitation for you to attend a free consultation with our team so that we can explain how we might be of service to you in a tangible, consequential way, even though there may be little that we can say to ease your grief right now.

If another’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous actions or inactions may have contributed to the cause of your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to significant personal injury compensation as a result of the losses you have suffered. Additionally, if your loved one was engaged in work-related activity at the time that they suffered harm and/or they were conscious and suffered pain as a result of their injuries before they passed away, you may be entitled to file additional types of claims for compensation.

You may or may not be concerned about the practical and financial consequences associated with your loved one’s loss at this time. You may still be so consumed by the emotional consequences of that loss that you haven’t yet considered how losing your loved one may impact your family financially. However, chances are good that fairly soon, your family’s financial wellbeing is going to be compromised as a result of the loss you have suffered. Don’t wait until these financial consequences become unmanageable to seek justice and to pursue any compensation to which you may be entitled. The law only allows you a relatively short window of time to file legal action before you’ll be barred from exercising your rights as a surviving loved one. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our firm today to learn more about your rights and options so that you can make whatever informed decisions will best serve your family and the memory of your lost loved one.

Compassionate Legal Representation for Families of Injury Victims

Not all attorneys are perceived as trustworthy and ethical, due in part to the shady practices of some professionals within the legal industry. In the wake of a tragic loss, surviving loved ones deserve to work with lawyers who have made it their mission to practice law with integrity, compassion, devotion to excellence, and a client-focused mindset. You will find these qualities present in every member of our legal team and support staff.

Your family has suffered too much to add to the stress you’re experiencing. Know that if you choose to meet with our firm, you and the memory of your loved one will be treated with respect and care. We will do everything we can to make the processes of exploring and exercising your options as stress-free as possible.

 Should you choose to take advantage of any of your legal options with our assistance, we will tenaciously advocate on your behalf until we’ve built the strongest case possible under the circumstances. No lawyer can guarantee results. However, we can guarantee that we will do our absolute best on your behalf.

The Wrongful Death Claims Process – The Basics

Wrongful death cases award damages based on the financial losses that surviving loved ones suffer after an injury victim has died. These damages may include compensation for lost earnings, burial and funeral expenses, medical expenses arising from any care that the deceased received for their injuries before they passed away, loss of support, loss of companionship, etc.

To file a wrongful death claim successfully on your behalf, our team will need to prove many of the fundamental elements of a non-fatal personal injury claim. This is because your wrongful death case will progress essentially in the same ways that the claim would if your loved one survived and been in a position to file a personal injury case on their own behalf, had their injuries not proven fatal. Essentially, it must be proven that any named defendant owed your loved one a duty of care, and in breaching that duty, caused (at least in a substantial way) your loved one’s injuries. A duty of care breach occurs when a party that owes that duty of care – such as a motorist, a physician, or a company that produces industrial equipment – is negligent, reckless, or engages in intentionally dangerous actions or inactions.

Note that the vast majority of wrongful death cases settle before heading to trial becomes necessary. However, we will prepare your case to succeed at trial, in the event that pursuing your claim through the trial phase becomes the best course of action, legally and financially speaking.

Wrongful Death Filing Eligibility Requirements – California

Not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. In most states, a representative of the deceased’s estate and qualifying, closely-related loved ones may file a wrongful death suit. In California, the following parties are eligible to file this kind of legal action:

A surviving spouse or domestic partner

A personal representative of the deceased’s estate

The deceased’s surviving children, as well as “issue” of any of the deceased’s children who predeceased them

Other eligible dependents of the deceased, including qualifying minors who were unrelated to the deceased but relied on the deceased for financial support – under certain circumstances

The parents or legal guardians of the deceased minors and other injury victims – under certain circumstances

In addition, other loved ones – as provided by law – may be eligible to file wrongful death claims under rare circumstances. It is important to note that the same eligibility criteria that apply to wrongful death claims also apply to survival actions.

Filing a Survival Action Simultaneously

If you have grounds upon which to file a wrongful death action and you are eligible to file that claim yourself, you also have grounds and eligibility to file a survival action, if this form of legal recourse applies to your situation. Whereas wrongful death actions compensate surviving loved ones for the financial consequences resulting from their personal losses, survival actions compensate for the pain and suffering felt by the injury victim in question before they passed away as a result of their injuries.

In order to file a successful survivor action, your loved one must have been semi-conscious or conscious and experiencing injury-related pain before they died. When determining the value of a survival action claim, a jury will take into consideration how conscious the victim was, how severe their pain was, whether they were experiencing the fear associated with impending death, and how long the victim was suffering before they succumbed to their injuries.

Not every state allows surviving loved ones to pursue damages for the pain and suffering felt by conscious injury victims. California is one of the most liberal states in the U.S. when it comes to protecting the rights of injury victims and – when injuries prove fatal – the rights of their loved ones. Note that if filing a survival action is applicable to your situation, our team will file it simultaneously with your wrongful death action so that both elements can be argued together as aspects of a broader, single case.

Causation and Fault Considerations

After our firm has thoroughly investigated the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death, we’ll gain both a firm understanding of what caused your loved one’s injuries and whose actions or inactions may have significantly contributed to the fault for the injurious circumstances in question.

Too often, inexperienced lawyers rush to file action against those most obviously responsible for an injury victim’s death without properly investigating every angle of the situation at hand. This rushed and inexperienced approach can cost surviving loved ones dearly. For example, say that a fatal auto accident was caused when a drunk driver slammed into the side of another passenger vehicle. An inexperienced or sloppy attorney may simply try to sue the impaired driver for their contribution to the situation without undertaking any additional investigation. However, a knowledgeable and skillful attorney won’t leave “any stones unturned.” As a result, it is eventually revealed that the car that the impaired driver was operating had a faulty electrical system, which also directly contributed to the crash. Therefore, in this example, it makes sense to hold both the impaired driver and a major auto manufacturer liable – leading not only to a significant compensation award but also a recall of the electrical system which saves an untold number of lives.

Note that because California is a comparative negligence state, you may be entitled to compensation for those responsible for your loved one’s death even if your loved one also contributed to the cause of their injuries. Your compensation award will simply be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to your loved one. For example, if your compensation award is valued at $400,000 and your loved one is deemed to have been 25 percent at fault for their injuries, you’ll remain in a position to collect up to $300,000 from others responsible for the harm your loved one has suffered. In other words, don’t avoid the opportunity to pursue legal action simply because your loved one may have been partly to blame for their injurious circumstances.

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