It’s never easy to deal with losing a loved one – much less unexpectedly. However, the tragic sense of loss is exponentially greater when their death can be attributed to someone else’s wrongful actions. The effects of a great loss are often compounded by an estate’s sudden financial burdens as a result of the decedent’s unexpected absence. To seek redress for injuries suffered by the decedent’s estate, its representative should contact an experienced Wildomar survival action attorney to see if they can bring a claim to recover damages for financial injuries on behalf of the estate.
Survival Actions in Wildomar
Unlike many small towns, Wildomar does not have the best reputation when it comes to safety. There is an above average crime rate, and every year there are an average of 56 reported victims of violent crimes and 13 reported injuries and deaths from alcohol involved motor vehicle accidents. In addition to violent crime, traffic accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents can all bring about situations where someone’s negligence could easily lead to fatalities and subsequent survival actions.
Can I Bring a Survival Action?
The untimely death of a loved one can potentially give rise to more than one claim seeking compensation such as wrongful death and survival actions. Though they may seem duplicative at first glance, these claims differ in some few key aspects, which makes them distinct claims and can be brought simultaneously if someone loses their life due to another’s wrongful actions.
Wrongful death claims are brought by a decedent’s survivors, and they seek to recover personal compensation for the injuries sustained by the survivors as a result of decedent’s passing. Survival actions, on the other hand, are brought by the representative of the decedent’s estate on the estate’s behalf – not the survivors. Survival actions seek damages for injuries suffered by the estate between the time the decedent’s harm was initially inflicted by a defendant and the time of their death.
What Kind of Events Can Give Rise to a Survival Action?
A survival action is brought when the estate of a deceased person seeks compensation for injuries that occurred after a decedent was injured up until the time they died. The crux of a survival action claim is that the representative of the estate bringing the claim must show that the estate suffered actual harm within that all-important time frame – a victim’s instant death will not support a survival action claim. Even moments of harm can be sufficient; courts allow survival actions to continue when:
- A shooting victim dies en route to the hospital;
- Someone dies in the hospital due to a doctor’s malpractice during surgery;
- Someone hit by a drunk driver dies at the scene of the accident waiting for first responders; or
- An elderly nursing home resident dies after months of improper medication administration by the staff.
If you believe someone you love died due to another’s wrongful conduct, you should contact an experienced Wildomar survival action lawyer to understand if the circumstances surrounding their death will allow for a survival action.
How Long Does a Wildomar Estate Have to File a Survival Action?
If a loved one was killed due to another’s wrongful conduct in Wildomar but did not immediately die upon sustaining the injury, the estate representative should not waste time in taking action. California codified a statute of limitations establishing a deadline for the estate representative of a decedent to file a survival action. The filing must occur no later than the latest of:
- Two years after the date decedent’s initial injury occurred, or
- If decedent failed to expire immediately after their injuries occurred, 6 months after the date of their death.
If the estate does not file a survival action within the proper time frame, it will be statutorily barred from filing and forfeit any chance for recovery in civil court.
How Does an Estate Recover in a Wildomar Survival Action?
Both you and an estate representative for the deceased may wonder how much the estate can recover on behalf of the estate for injuries a victim suffered from the time of the accident until their death. If another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions can be attributed to harm suffered by the estate, it may receive compensatory and even punitive damages.
Negligence is the most common argument asserted in survival action to establish liability. To hold someone liable for negligent, injury-causing behavior, you must prove:
- You were owed a duty of care from the defendant;
- The defendant breached their duty to you through affirmative act or omission; and
- That breach was the cause of your injuries.
An estate may be entitled to compensatory damages from a negligent party to do the impossible – make them whole for injuries it suffered. These damages can be awarded for harms that can be established through evidence such as hospital bills, funeral costs, and damage to property. Punitive damages may also be awarded if the estate can show the defendant committed injurious actions with malice, fraud, or oppression; these damages can be very difficult to prove. Punitive damages are discretionary – a court or jury makes a case by case decision on whether to award them and in what amount. Because punitive damages are meant to punish bad behavior, there is no cap on award amounts. Consequently, punitive damage awards are exponentially larger than compensatory damage awards.
Contact a Survival Action Attorney Today
If someone’s wrongful conduct has resulted in the death of your loved one in or around Wildomar, the representative of the decedent’s estate should contact the experienced Wildomar survival action attorneys at Walton Law today. Our team has years of experienced representing estates in survival actions and has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for deserving clients like you. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or use our online Contact Page to schedule a risk free, confidential case evaluation today. The initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our skilled attorneys review the unique facts of the situation, explain options that will bring about results in the estate’s best interests, and start delivering aggressive, personalized representation to help the estate achieve the best outcome possible from a tragic situation.