Losing someone is never easy, but the tragedy even greater when that loss is the result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. The unexpected death of a person can throw things into turmoil for decedent’s survivors as well as their estate – when caught unawares there can be huge personal and financial repercussions following a decedent’s death. On behalf of the decedent’s estate, a representative may be able to recover compensation for financial harms it suffered as a result of the decedent’s injuries leading up to their death.
Just last year in Menifee, despite the town’s reputation for safety, multiple people were murdered, and many others were killed in traffic collisions and other accidents around town. If someone has died due to negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions and you represent their estate, contact an experienced Menifee survival action attorney today to understand how you may be able to look after the estate’s well-being and pursue compensation for harms that can never fully be made right.
Should I File a Survival Action or a Wrongful Death Claim in Court?
Someone’s death may trigger several potential causes of action in civil court – most notably wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions. Though at first it may appear they are the same, they are different actions that may be brought simultaneously in the event of a death.
Survival actions may be brought by a representative of the decedent’s estate on its behalf. These claims seek compensation for injuries the estate suffered between the time of the decedent’s injury and their death. Wrongful death claims, however, may be brought by eligible survivors of the decedent to recover compensation for themselves for injuries they have suffered as a result of decedent’s passing.
What Triggers a Survival Action?
If a person in Menifee dies due to the negligent, reckless, or intentionally wrongful behavior of another party, the estate may pursue a survival action through a representative to recover compensation for financial harms that occurred after decedent was injured but before they expired.
The crux of a survival action is the estate must prove harm occurred prior to the decedent’s death but after they were injured by the accused party. Instantaneous death does not warrant a lawsuit – only the decedent’s survival for enough time to allow any economic harm to occur. Survival actions are, for example, properly brought when:
- A shooting victim dies in an ambulance on the way to the hospital;
- A hospital patient dies days after a botched surgery; or
- A senior citizen dies weeks after severe physical abuse by their caregiver.
It is wise to consult a survival action attorney to understand if the circumstances surrounding the decedent’s satisfy the requirements set forth to recover damages in California.
When Should I File My Claim?
If you have decided to pursue a survival action, it is important not to delay – time is not on your side. Survival actions in Menifee are governed by California’s statute of limitations; there is a time frame for filing your claim in a court of law. The representative of a decedent’s estate has either 2 years from the date of the accident injuring the deceased or, if the decedent did not die immediately from the infliction of their injuries, 6 months from the date of their death – whichever is later – to file a survival action in court. If this schedule is not properly observed and the deadline passes, the estate will be barred from suing. Any claim filed outside the statue of limitations will be dismissed, and the estate will be permanently foreclosed from recovering compensation for its injuries.
How Much is a Survival Action Claim Worth?
As the representative of decedent’s estate, you may wonder how much compensation you can secure on behalf of the deceased for their untimely death. If you have proven they died because of another’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions, you may recover compensatory and potentially punitive damages for the estate.
Compensatory damages attempt to perform the impossible – make decedent’s estate whole for the injuries it suffered prior to their death. Damages you can prove to a court may be awarded to the estate, such as:
- Hospital bills;
- Funeral expenses; and
- Damage to the decedent’s property.
Additionally, the representative of the decedent’s estate in a survival action may also recover punitive damages against the liable party on behalf of the estate. If the estate’s representative can prove the culpable party acted with malice, oppression, or fraud and those actions resulted in the death of decedent, a court or jury may elect to award punitive damages on a case by case basis. Because punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer’s conduct, there are no statutory limits on the amount that may be awarded, and consequently punitive damages often exponentially exceed compensatory damage award amounts.
Due to the differing standards of proof required for recovery of compensatory and punitive damages, in as well as the potential for a large windfall benefiting the estate if punitive damages can be proven, it is advisable to work with an experienced survival action attorney in Menifee.
Contact a Menifee Attorney
If you have lost a loved one and are the representative of their estate, you should speak with the experienced Menifee survival action attorneys at Walton Law today to preserve the rights of the decedent’s estate, learn how you may pursue compensation for the harms their death has had on their estate, and understand the courses of action available to you as estate representative. Our knowledgeable attorneys have spent years representing estate in survival actions and securing millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or use our online Contact Page to set up a no risk, confidential case evaluation. There is no obligation and you pay nothing unless we recover. Our skilled attorneys will evaluate the unique facts of your situation, present sound advice on the best options available to you, and work tirelessly to deliver tailored, aggressive advocacy and secure the best outcome possible for the estate.