Survival Actions and the Continuation of a Personal Injury Lawsuit | A pending personal injury lawsuit does not stop because of the death of the injury victim (the plaintiff) due to non-related accident injuries. See Cal. Code of Civil Procedure sect. 377.21 | #KnowYourInjuryRights | (619) 550-3617.
Continue to read and learn more about survival actions in California injury lawsuits.
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Survival Actions | Personal Injury
A person’s cause of action is not lost by reason of that person’s death, but survives subject to the applicable limitations period. Cal. Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) sect. 377.20. On motion, the court shall allow a pending injury lawsuit that does not abate to be continued by the decedent’s personal representative (if one appointed by the decedent prior to their death) or a successor(s) in interest if no representative was appointed. CCP sect. 377.31.
Survival Actions | Successor In Interest
The decedent’s successor in interest is the beneficiary of the decedent’s estate or other successor in interest who succeeds to a cause of action. CCP sect. 377.11.
Who May Be a Successor In Interest?
Any cause of action of a decedent not effectively disposed of by will passes to the decedent’s heirs.
To the Surviving Parents: The entire cause of action if the decedent was not married and did not leave any surviving children.
To the Surviving Spouse: The entire cause of action if the decedent did not leave any surviving children.
To the Surviving Children: The entire cause of action if the decedent did not leave any surviving parents or spouse.
See Cal. Probate Code sect. 6401 for shares of intestate succession when there is a surviving spouse, child and or parent.
Survival Actions | Limited Damages
In an action by a decedent’s successor in interest on the decedent’s cause of action, the damages recoverable are limited to the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred before death, including any penalties or punitive damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover, but do not include damages for pain, suffering or disfigurement. CCP sect. 377.34.
Example Scenario 1: Adrian Delfino was hit by a car in a crosswalk. He suffered non-fatal personal injuries and incurred lost wages along with medical bills. Unable to resolve this issue before litigation, he filed a lawsuit. Unbeknownst to all, Mr. Delfino became ill and passed away from natural causes. He left no surviving spouse (since he was divorced) but did leave 2 surviving adult children. Here, my office would motion to court to have Mr. Delfino’s surviving children be named as successors in interest so that they may recover the last wages and medical bills incurred by Mr. Delfino during his lifetime.
Ordaz Law, APC | Survival Actions
Have you or a love one been a victim of a personal injury? Do you feel like you are entitled to injury compensation for the pain and suffering you have suffered? If your answer to both questions is yes, then it is time that you seek legal representation from a premier San Diego personal injury lawyer. Based in central San Diego County, Juan J. Ordaz Jr. and his law office, Ordaz Law, APC, is always ready to help any individual and their families suffering from an injury producing incident that should never have happened in the first place. Read More
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