The loss of a loved one is life-changing and a moment of great tragedy – however, the grief and impact of loss are only compounded by an unexpected death due to someone’s wrongful behavior. A loss of life affects not only those around the deceased but their estate as well as a result of their untimely absence. If these financial harms were due to another’s wrongful actions or negligence, the estate itself may be able to sue and recover damages for injuries it incurred. If someone lost their life because of negligent, intentional, or criminal actions, the estate representative should contact a skilled Moreno Valley Survival Action Attorney to see if the estate may be entitled to compensation.
Survival Action Risk Factors in Moreno Valley
Though Moreno Valley is a relatively small town for Southern California with a population of over 209,000, living here doesn’t come without risk. Based on data from 18,000 United States local law enforcement agencies, in 2018 the city was only safer than 12 percent of cities in the country. The risk of becoming the one of the 776 reported victims of violent crime is very real, so tragedies occur even when observing caution and avoiding risk. Several fatalities have been reported each of the past few years due to violent crime. Moreno Valley also reported hundreds of violent crimes in 2018, including 9 homicides, 30 rapes, and hundreds of assaults and violent robberies.
Violent crime is not the only cause of death that can result in a survival action. Moreno Valley has a substantial elderly population requiring medical and even nursing home care. The city is also sandwiched between the busy 215 freeway and State Route 60, which presents a higher risk of fatal car accidents on congested roads with negligent drivers. In conjunction with the nearly 939 traffic injuries and fatalities reported by the Office of Traffic Safety in the city – 105 related to alcohol – it means circumstances often come up that pose a high risk of death and subsequent survival action claims.
Who’s Allowed to Sue?
Wrongful death claims and survival action claims are similar but different due to who’s allowed to file each type of lawsuit. A decedent’s loved ones file wrongful death claims to recover for injuries they personally suffered from the death. With a survival action, however, a representative of the decedent’s estate files a claim on behalf of the estate itself – not the family members. This claim seeks damages for the estate’s injuries suffered between initial infliction of harm on the victim and their subsequent death.
What Situations Warrant Survival Actions?
To file a survival action, it’s crucial the decedent’s death was not instantaneous. The estate must show it suffered actual harm between the decedent’s initial injury and their eventual death. However, the time frame doesn’t need to be extended for the estate to file a lawsuit. Moments may suffice in some cases. For example, survival action cases were warranted when:
- The decedent died on the way to the hospital after being shot;
- While waiting for first responders after being hit by a drunk driver, the decedent dies; and
- Days or weeks after surgery where malpractice occurred, the deceased passed away.
If you aren’t sure whether your situation merits a survival action claim, speak to a skilled Moreno Valley survival action attorney today.
How Long can I Wait to File?
An estate representative should not wait too long to file a survival action in court for damage. California, like all other states, has enacted a statute of limitations for filing a survival action claim. If the case isn’t filed in the time frame, the estate permanently loses the opportunity to file a lawsuit to recover damages. The estate has the later of:
- 2 years following the date of the defendant’s initial injury, or
- 6 months after the date of decedent’s death if they did not expire immediately after suffering their injuries to file suit. Anything after this deadline will be dismissed by the court.
How can a Decedent’s Estate win a Survival Action Case?
It’s normal to wonder how an estate’s representative can win a case for damages suffered during between injury and death. Usually, an estate will file a civil lawsuit alleging their injuries resulted from the defendant’s negligence; proving recklessness or intentional actions caused damages can also result in liability and a damage award. To prove negligence an estate must prove to a court that:
- The defendant owed the deceased a legal duty of care;
- The duty was breached by defendant’s act or omission; and
- Defendant’s breached caused decedent’s death and injury to the deceased’s estate.
If you can establish these elements, the defendant is liable without a valid defense for their conduct.
What’s a Moreno Valley Survival Action Worth?
No amount of compensation will bring back the deceased or fully make up for the estate’s injuries, but compensatory damages are intended to pay back the injured party for damages suffered between the deceased’s injuries and death. The injuries an estate may recover are concrete damages – noneconomic harms like pain and suffering aren’t permitted. However, funeral expenses, medical bills, and property damage may be recoverable.
Estates may also be awarded punitive damages to punish a defendant’s extremely bad behavior. These damages are difficult to prove, however, rarely given, and entirely at the court’s discretion – that makes it wise to proceed with the help of a skilled Moreno Valley Survival Action Lawyer.
Speak to a Moreno Valley Survival Action Attorney
If someone dies from another’s wrongful conduct, it’s natural to want their estate to get compensation for the harm done. Speak to the experienced Moreno Valley Survival Action Attorneys at Walton Law, APC without delay. We understand how to fight for maximum compensation and have spent years delivering committed representation and recovering millions in damages for our clients. Contact us 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or use our online Contact Page to schedule your risk-free initial case evaluation today. The review is confidential, and you do not pay until we win your case. Let our knowledgeable attorneys analyze unique case, answer your questions, and help you put your best foot forward to securing the best possible outcome beginning today.