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Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in Southern California

No one should have to lose a loved one as a result of the negligent, or careless, actions of another person. When someone dies because of someone else’s negligent behavior, family members often know they can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual to secure certain damages. However, many people are surprised to learn there is another type of claim they can file known as a survival action. So, what is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action?

Wrongful Death Claims in Southern California

California law allows surviving spouses, partners, children, and grandchildren of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The damages sought in wrongful death actions are intended to compensate surviving loved ones for their losses. These may include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Costs of burial
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of comfort, companionship, assistance, care, affection, protection, moral support, and society the deceased provided
  • The loss of sexual companionship

It is important to note that damages for pain and suffering are not available in wrongful death lawsuits. Punitive damages, or those intended to punish the negligent individual for their negligent actions, are also not available. To claim these types of damages, surviving loved ones must file a survival action claim. It is always important to speak to a San Francisco wrongful death lawyer that can advise you of all of your options for securing the full damages you deserve.

Survival Actions in Southern California

A survival action in Southern California is meant to represent the interests of the deceased. Essentially, survival actions are claims the deceased could have filed if they had not passed away as a result of the accident. A survival action is typically only applicable when the deceased suffered for a significant period of time between the accident and their ultimate death. 

For example, if someone was in a car accident and died at the hospital an hour later, a survival action typically would not apply. However, if someone was in a car crash and was hospitalized for several weeks before finally succumbing to their injuries, a survival action is likely an option. Through a survival action, the estate for the deceased can claim:

  • Medical expenses incurred prior to the death
  • Lost income incurred prior to the death
  • Loss of household services

It is important to note that California’s survival action statute also does not allow for pain and suffering or disfigurement. Unlike the wrongful death statute, though, a survival action does allow the estate to recover punitive damages when the defendant has acted with gross negligence.

Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyer in San Francisco Today

If you have lost a loved one, our San Francisco wrongful death lawyer at Brod Law Firm can help you through this difficult time. Attorney Brod will review your case, determine what type of action you can file, and help you recover the maximum settlement you deserve. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation and to learn more about how we can help.

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