Most people are familiar with wrongful death claims but not with survival actions. In the state of California, when an individual is killed as a direct result of the recklessness, negligence, or intentional and malicious act of a party or entity, two different types of lawsuits can be brought forward against the liable party/entity.
These two types of lawsuits include the following:
- Wrongful death lawsuits – in which surviving family members are compensated for their losses associated with the death of the victim
- Survival suits – in which the victim’s estate is compensated for the losses suffered by the deceased party prior to his or her death
The right to pursue a survival suit – or a survival action – is based on California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30.
A Summary of the Difference between the Types of Claims
It is important to have at least a general understanding of the difference between wrongful death claims and survival suits. One of the main differences between the types of claims is that survival actions do not compensated the family of the deceased party for their losses; rather, survivor actions compensate the estate for the losses that the decedent suffered because of the wrongful/negligent act but before death.
Survival suits are only appropriate when the victim survived long enough to incur economic damages; in cases where immediate death occurs, wrongful death claims are appropriate.
Survival actions could result in the recovery of losses associated with medical bills, lost income, and property damage, for example. Survival actions cannot result in the recovery of the decedent’s pain and suffering. In contrast to wrongful death claims, survival actions can result in the recovery of punitive damages.
It is also important to note that survival actions can only be brought forward by a personal representative of the estate (not by family members like wrongful death claims). In the absence of a personal representative, the survival action can be brought forth by the decedent’s successor in interest – or a successor to the decedent’s interest in property.
The claims are also subject to different deadlines. While wrongful death claims are subject to a two-year statute, survival actions must be filed either two years after the wrongful act or six months after death – whichever comes later.
Understanding the Compensation Available for Recovery
As previously mentioned, survival suits can result in the recovery of medical bills, lost income, and property damage, for example. However, these damages are limited to the monetary losses that the victim suffered immediately after the incident but before his or her death. For example, if the victim died three weeks after the wrongful act, a survival suit would likely result in the recovery of the losses during the three-week period prior to the victim’s death.
The typical damages available for recovery if survival suits are successful include some of the following:
- Medical expenses – associated with the medical bills incurred after the incident up until the time of death
- Property damage – associated with the property damage caused by the wrongful act or incident
- Lost earnings – associated with the income lost after the incident up until the time of death
- Punitive damages – awarded as a form of punishment towards the defendant
In most survival actions, punitive damages are the most significant type of compensation available. In survivor actions, the specific amount of punitive damages is partially based on the harm suffered by the victim.
Besides being awarded to punish the defendant, punitive damages often serve as an example to others – to deter similar behavior. The specific amount of punitive damages awarded is based on three factors: (1) the reprehensibility of the of the defendant’s actions; (2) the harm suffered by the decedent; (3) the defendant’s wealth.
If you would like to learn more about the specific type and amount of compensation that you might be eligible to receive if you pursue a survival suit, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance immediately.
The Statute of Limitations
As briefly mentioned above, survival suits must be filed either two years after the wrongful act or six months after the victim’s death – whichever comes later. Understanding the applicable statute of limitations is absolutely essential to being able to successfully file a claim. A statute of limitations determines the specific length of time that claimants have to file their claims; if claimants do not file their claims on time, they will lose their right to sue – and the right to recover any form of compensation. To ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the deadline that applies to your claim, do not hesitate to contact our experts at your earliest convenience.
Contact Downtown L.A. Law Group Today
If you are interested in learning more about bringing forth a survival cause of action for the untimely and wrongful death of an individual, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance with the experts at our law firm at your earliest convenience. At Downtown L.A. Law Group, our experts have many years of experience handling all sorts of claims – always helping claimants recover the compensation that they are owed. If you would like to discuss the possibility of pursuing a survival suit, do not hesitate to contact our experts at your earliest convenience.
Our firm is dedicated to remaining accessible to all parties. Therefore, we offer a variety of free legal services, which include free consultations and free second opinions. During our free consultations and free second opinions, our lawyers will be available to answer all questions and address all concerns. To benefit from our free legal services, do not hesitate to contact our law firm immediately.
Our firm offers a Zero-Fee guarantee that ensures that our clients never have to worry about paying any upfront legal fees for any of our legal services. Our firm is also strictly based on contingency; therefore; clients will not be responsible for any legal fees until after reaching a successful claim outcome.
If you are ready to discuss your claim with the experts at our law firm, do not hesitate to contact us today.