Losing a loved one is not easy under any circumstances; however, the tragedy becomes even greater when that loss results due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another. Not only is grieving involved, but the survivors of a deceased person as well as the decedent’s estate can be further burdened due to the unexpected, sudden nature of their loved one’s death. To seek compensation for harm done to the decedent’s estate, a representative for the estate can contact an experienced Lake Elsinore Survival Action attorney to pursue a claim for damages for financial injuries suffered by the estate due to decedent’s injuries prior to their death.
Lake Elsinore Survival Actions
Lake Elsinore has a reputation for safety and is a small, tourism-based town full of families. However, despite this, traffic accidents, bicycle accidents, and violent crime claimed the lives of several people within the city limits – all circumstances that could potentially bring about a survival action. If a loved one has died from another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior and you are the estate representative, speak to a Lake Elsinore Survival Action lawyer to understand how you may help the estate by seeking damages for harm done to it prior to decedent’s death.
How Do I Know If I Should File a Survival Action?
A person’s death can potentially trigger a number of claims seeking compensation in court; wrongful death claims and survival actions are first and foremost among them. Though they are similar in nature, these claims are different in a few important ways – meaning they can be brought at the same time are the same in the event someone loses their life due to wrongful conduct of another.
Survival actions are filed by the decedent’s estate representative on behalf of the estate itself. Survival actions pursue compensation for harms done to the estate from the time between infliction of the decedent’s harm and their eventual death. Conversely, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by survivors of the decedent – not the estate – and seek personal compensation for harms the survivors have sustained due to decedent’s death.
What Events Trigger a Survival Action?
Survival actions seek to recover compensation for harms occurring between when decedent was injured and when passed. They key point that allows a survival action is that the estate’s representative must demonstrate actual harm occurred to the estate before the victim died but only after they were harmed by the defendant. Instantaneous death will disallow a survival action; decedent must have survived long enough for some harm to take place. Examples of situations where survival actions are warranted include:
- A drowning victim is alive when EMTs arrive but expires afterwards during CPR performance;
- Someone is shot and dies on the way to the hospital;
- A surgery patient dies days later due to a botched procedure; or
- A nursing home patient dies after being improperly administered medication for months.
It is advisable to consult a Lake Elsinore Survival Action lawyer to understand if decedent’s death and the facts pertaining to it permit a survival action to take place.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Claim?
Time is not on your side when deciding to pursue a survival action claim in Lake Elsinore. California has a statute of limitations prohibiting a representative of a decedent’s estate from filing a survival action after the later of either 2 years after the date decedent’s initial injury occurred or, if decedent failed to expire immediately after their injuries occurred, 6 months from date of death. The estate will be statutorily barred from filing and claim after this deadline has passed and permanently forfeit any recovery for its injuries in civil court.
How Much Can the Estate Recover in a Survival Action?
A representative may not know how much they are able to recover on behalf of the estate to compensate for harms before the decedent’s untimely death. If you are able to establish the decedent was fatally injured due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions, you may be entitled to recover both compensatory and punitive damages. Negligence is the most common theory of recovery, and to establish it you must prove:
- The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim;
- The defendant breached that duty through either an act or omission; and
- The defendant’s breach caused the victim’s injuries.
Compensatory damages are meant to accomplish the impossible and make the estate whole for harms due to decedent’s injuries before death. Compensatory damages must be proven to a court, and awards may issue for harms like:
- Medical expenses;
- Burial costs; and
- Property damage.
The estate may also recover punitive damages if it can establish the defendant injurious action were perpetrated with malice, oppression, or fraud. A court or jury decided both whether a punitive damage award should issue and the amount. As punitive damages are designed to punish reprehensible conduct, no statutory limits exist as to its amount. Consequently, these awards are often exponentially larger than awards for compensatory damages.
Due to vastly differing standards of proof that must be satisfied for compensatory and punitive damages to issue, it’s a wise move to work with a Lake Elsinore Survival Action lawyer to avoid potentially costly legal pitfalls when pursuing recovery for the estate.
Speak to a Lake Elsinore Survival Action Attorney
If a loved one has died from another’s wrongful conduct, the representative of their estate should contact the Survival Action Lawyer at Walton Law, serving Lake Elsinore and the surrounding area, without delay to preserve the estate’s legal rights and understand its options. Our knowledgeable attorneys years of experience representing estates in survival actions and have recovered millions in damage awards for our clients. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or use our online Contact Page to schedule a confidential case evaluation today. There is no obligation and you do not pay until we win your case. Let our attorneys review the unique facts in your case, explain the options available to you, and work hard to deliver personalized, compassionate advocacy to help the estate recover maximum possible compensation.