Under California law, when someone is killed due to another person’s negligence, reckless act, or intentional act, surviving family members have the right to seek justice and compensation on behalf of the deceased individual.
A survival action covers damages that the deceased suffered before death, that would have been recoverable in a personal injury claim had they survived. Incidents such as car or truck accidents, medical malpractice, and explosions all have catastrophic repercussions that can lead to death. When death is not instantaneous and requires medical attention, extended care, and transportation, among other expenses, the victim’s estate or family may file a claim to recover damages endured between the time of the accident and their death.
Understanding your rights when seeking justice after the death of a loved one is difficult, especially when coming to terms with the negligent actions that caused loss. The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates meet each client with compassion and the determination to hold responsible parties accountable for negligent actions.
Survival Action vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a person dies due to negligence, two types of lawsuits can be filed against the responsible party in the event of the death of an individual.
- A wrongful death lawsuit is filed to compensate surviving family members for their losses;
- A survival action is filed to compensate family members or estate for losses suffered by the deceased person before death.
The key difference between these two types of claims is that a survival action does not compensate family members for their losses in the event of their relative’s death. Rather, the deceased person’s family members, estate, or representative named in their trust or will, can claim losses that the decedent suffered before death. There are cases where a wrongful death lawsuit may also be filed following the death of the individual and may be combined with a survival action.
Survival Action Damages
While the decedent’s family has the legal right to pursue financial compensation, damages may only be claimed for suffering incurred from the point of the negligent act up until death. In cases where negligence caused instantaneous death, a survival action does not apply, but laws are lenient in the amount of time required between accidents and death to satisfy the requirements of a survival action.
Examples of instances where a survival action would apply include:
- The victim of a truck accident who died at the hospital due to injuries.
- A patient who died after taking incorrect medication for some time.
- A senior citizen who died as the result of routine negligent care at a living facility.
- The victim of an explosion who later succumbed to their injuries.
In survival action cases representatives may claim economic damages such as medical expenses and lost income, non-economic damages such as disfigurement or pain and suffering, and punitive damages which are intended to punish the at-fault party for unethical behavior. Working with an experienced wrongful death and survival action attorney is the best way to identify possible damages and any limitations to your case.
California Survival Action Statute of Limitations
In most cases of survival action, the surviving family or estate has two years from the date of the injury, or six months after death, whichever is later. Depending on the specifics of the case or exceptions to the law, the time allotted for filing a claim may change. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can ensure your lawsuit meets state expectations and deadlines.
Contact an Experienced Survival Action Attorney
When a family member has been involved in a serious accident that results in wrongful death, it is important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible to initiate a claim and understand the best next steps for your case. An experienced attorney can advocate for your rights, guide you through the complex claims process, and help you receive complete compensation for damages.
Rodriguez & Associates is a recognized leader in handling serious cases across the state of California. Contact our team of award-winning attorneys today to discuss your case and identify your optimal path to full financial recovery.