Generally, there are two possible outcomes to a personal injury claim.   Either the injured person settles a claim with an insurance company while he or she is alive or the injured person dies before a claim is settled.  When a person dies before settling a personal injury claim, there are two possible claims that may be brought against the responsible party:
  • Wrongful Death Claim
  • Survival Action.

Wrongful Death Claims

Usually, loved ones are emotionally distraught and the last thing people want to do is deal with the complexity of a wrongful death claim.  Wrongful death claims are complicated because the party who brings the claim must prove that the death was caused by the other party.  For this reason, it is often important to conduct a complete investigation, often including an autopsy, in order to prove that the other party caused this person’s death. A wrongful death settlement can often be greatly affected by actions which are taken immediately after a person passes away.  An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to guide you through this difficult time and help you recover the maximum financial compensation given the circumstances.

Survival Actions

Unlike a wrongful death claim, survival actions do not have to prove that the death was caused by the responsible party.  As a result, the deceased person’s family is limited to recovering losses that occurred before he or she died in a survival action.  This includes any punitive damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to recover. Anyone pursuing the survival action can recover money for the following damages:
  1. Medical expenses and care incurred before death
  2. Bills from ambulance services
  3. Loss of earning capacity from date of injury to the date of death
  4. Any other punitive damages (money awarded to an injured person to punish the responsible party for their conduct) the deceased would have been entitled to had they lived
Deciding whether or not to file a survival action can be very confusing for family members during a time period where emotions run high and judgments are clouded.  We strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney or wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after the loss of your loved one.  This is a tragic circumstance, and we believe that you shouldn’t have to deal with this situation on your own.

Call Us Now to Maximize Your Settlement

Since 1992, our San Diego law office has recovered millions of dollars for injured people and their families of the wrongfully deceased.  We know that it is important to settle an insurance claim as soon as possible because, under California law, human pain and suffering dies with the injured person.  Still, injured people are only entitled to one personal injury settlement, and therefore, it is important to not rush into a claim and miss something. We know that the responsible party’s insurance company will most likely not explain all of your legal rights and will only want to pay you a small settlement.  Since you cannot later go back and make a claim for additional damages after your claim is settled, you need to file your personal injury claim right the first time. If you would like help with your insurance claim, then please contact our bilingual offices as soon as possible at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in San Diego.  We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing until we recover money on your behalf.