wrongful death lawyer Los Angeles

Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is an indescribable pain, leaving you to deal with grief and legal complexities at the same time. It can be overwhelming to navigate the legal landscape during such an emotional period, especially when distinguishing between wrongful death lawsuits and survival action claims.

While both stem from tragic circumstances involving negligence or wrongdoing, understanding the differences between wrongful death and survival action is crucial for seeking appropriate recourse. This article will equip you with the knowledge necessary to pursue justice following the death of a loved one.

Though we understand that no amount of money can heal your pain or make up for your loss, our wrongful death attorneys (Los Angeles) are committed to doing everything in our power to support you in advocating for the compensation you deserve during this challenging time.

Wrongful Death Versus Survival Action

wrongful death attorney in los angeles

Wrongful Death

A wrongful death case aims to secure compensation for surviving family members for the damages they have suffered as a result of the negligent or wrongful actions of another party. Typically, these cases are filed by the family members left behind in situations where the victim’s death is directly tied to the other party’s negligence.

Take, for instance, the lawsuit filed against Google Maps by the Paxson family back in 2022. Allegedly, the app’s inaccurate directions led Philip Paxson off an unbarricaded bridge — which had previously collapsed — resulting in his immediate and tragic death. In this scenario, the surviving family members pursued a wrongful death lawsuit, rather than a survival action lawsuit, because the death was an immediate consequence of Google Maps’ negligence.

Wrongful death lawsuits aim to provide a measure of justice and support to those left behind after a tragedy. They primarily seek to compensate surviving family members for the harm they have endured, including loss of companionship or financial distress, following the death of their loved one.

Survival Action

Survival action lawsuits, on the other hand, are typically filed by the estate or representatives of the deceased victim, seeking damages for the harm or injury the deceased suffered before their death. While a wrongful death case is more likely to be filed in circumstances of instantaneous death due to the other party’s negligence, a survival action lawsuit is suitable in situations where the victim initially survived but later succumbed to injuries or damages caused by the negligent party.

For example, let’s say a cyclist is hit by a drunk driver in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles. He falls off his bike but avoids a head injury and remains conscious. Rushed to the emergency room, the motorcyclist unfortunately passes away during surgery due to complications arising from his injuries. Though the motorcyclist did not immediately die from the initial impact of the car and the drunk driver’s negligence, he still suffered damages as a result of the accident.

In this case, a survival action lawsuit can be pursued because the cyclist suffered significant harm and damages between the time of the accident and his eventual death. The estate of the motorcyclist has the right to pursue compensation for the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages endured after the accident and before his passing. The longer the period between the accident and the victim’s death, the greater the opportunity for compensation.

Statue of Limitations: Wrongful Death versus Survival Action

Wrongful death and survival actions are separate causes of action and, therefore, have different statutes of limitations. In California, wrongful death claims must typically be filed within two years from the date of the victim’s death.

A survival action claim, however, can usually be filed:

  1. Within two years from the date of the injury or damages incurred by the deceased before their death;
  2. Or, within six months after the date of the deceased’s death.

Whichever of these two timeframes comes later is the deadline for filing a survival action claim in California. Contacting a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible will help you ensure that your claim is filed on time.

Contact a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Law Firm To Pursue a Claim

Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer

If you are struggling with the loss of a loved one following a tragic accident, we recommend immediately contacting a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer or personal injury attorney to ensure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations.

A wrongful death attorney (Los Angeles) will help you determine whether your situation requires a wrongful death or survival action lawsuit and will work directly with insurance companies to identify just compensation. In cases of wrongful death, a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles will recover funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship expenses for surviving loved ones.

John J. Perlstein, one of the best wrongful death attorneys in Los Angeles, has over 25 years of experience securing fair outcomes in wrongful death cases. Get in touch with us at (213) 583-5786 or complete our form on our website to schedule a free consultation to see what we can do to help.

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