What Are Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

Wrongful death and survival actions are legal remedies available when a person’s death results from someone else’s negligence or deliberate actions. These civil suits are independent of any criminal proceedings that might also occur. A wrongful death lawsuit is initiated by the immediate relatives of the deceased—such as a spouse, children, or parents—to seek compensation for their loss. This compensation may cover emotional pain, loss of companionship, and financial support. Conversely, a survival action is pursued by the deceased’s estate, aiming to claim damages the deceased might have sought had they survived, including medical costs, earnings lost, and suffering endured prior to death.

How Are Damages Calculated in Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

Determining damages in wrongful death and survival lawsuits involves a detailed and case-specific process. In wrongful death claims, the calculation includes both the emotional and financial detriment endured by the deceased’s relatives. This typically takes into account anticipated future earnings of the deceased, loss of companionship, and the family’s emotional suffering. For survival actions, the focus is on the decedent’s pre-death experiences, encompassing medical expenses, earnings lost, and pain and suffering.

What Are the Time Limits for Filing Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

In California, the standard legal deadline to file both wrongful death and survival lawsuits is two years from the date of death. Nonetheless, several exceptions might modify this timeframe. For instance, if the death resulted from medical malpractice, the filing period may be shorter. Alternatively, if the death resulted in a felony conviction for the perpetrator, the period to file a wrongful death claim may be extended. Early legal consultation is essential to avoid missing crucial filing deadlines.

Can Wrongful Death and Survival Actions Be Filed Simultaneously?

It is common and permissible to file wrongful death and survival actions simultaneously. This approach allows both the deceased’s family and estate to comprehensively seek damages. A knowledgeable lawyer can guide this process, ensuring thorough consideration of all potential compensations and appropriate filing of the claims.

What Factors Influence the Outcome of Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

The outcome of wrongful death and survival claims can be influenced by various factors, including the details of the death, available evidence, the deceased’s pre-death losses, and the family’s financial and emotional suffering. A seasoned lawyer can provide insights into how these factors might affect your case and assist in assembling robust evidence to support your claim.

What Evidence is Needed for Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

The evidence needed for wrongful death and survival actions typically includes proof that the defendant’s wrongful act or negligence led to the death. Necessary evidence might comprise police reports, medical documentation, witness statements, and expert analysis. Your attorney can assist in gathering and presenting this evidence effectively.

What If the Deceased Was Partially at Fault?

In California, wrongful death and survival actions can proceed even if the deceased was partly at fault for the incident leading to their death.

The state’s comparative negligence rule may reduce the compensation proportionally to the deceased’s fault level. Your lawyer can explain how this might influence your case and advocate for a reasonable fault determination.

What Happens If a Wrongful Death or Survival Action is Successful?

Successful wrongful death and survival actions result in the court awarding damages to compensate for the incurred losses. In wrongful death cases, the compensation is directed to the deceased’s relatives to cover their personal losses. such as the loss of future earnings of the deceased, and non-economic damages, which cover the emotional pain and loss of companionship experienced by the family members.

Additionally, the court may also consider awarding punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the family but rather to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

In survival actions, the compensation is awarded to the deceased’s estate. the estate may recover damages that the deceased could have claimed if they had lived. This includes compensation for medical bills incurred prior to death, lost wages from the time of injury to death, and pain and suffering endured by the deceased during that period. Similar to wrongful death claims, punitive damages may also be awarded in survival actions if the circumstances warrant such a measure. An experienced lawyer can clarify the types of damages you might be eligible for and advocate for a fair resolution.

What If the Defendant Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay the Damages?

Sometimes, a defendant might not possess adequate assets to cover the awarded damages in a wrongful death or survival action. However, this does not necessarily preclude recovery of damages, as often, the defendant’s insurer may cover the awarded sum. A skilled attorney can help navigate these complexities and work towards securing the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Can a Wrongful Death or Survival Action Be Settled Out of Court?

Many wrongful death and survival actions are resolved through out-of-court settlements, which can be a quicker and less distressing approach than a trial. Any settlement should sufficiently compensate for your loss. An experienced attorney can evaluate any offers and negotiate for a settlement that is fair and just.

How Can an Experienced Attorney Help with Wrongful Death and Survival Actions?

Securing the services of a skilled attorney is crucial in wrongful death and survival actions. They offer vital support by elucidating your rights, estimating potential compensations, collecting evidence, and steering through the complexities of legal procedures. For example, in the event of a fatal car accident due to another’s recklessness, the grieving family might be overwhelmed and uncertain about their legal options. A qualified lawyer can manage the legal challenges, permitting the family to concentrate on recovery.

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to negligence or intentional harm, contact Hejazi Law Group today at 949-749-7402 for a case evaluation.