In the city of San Luis Obispo, there is a difference between wrongful death claims versus survival actions due to California law. A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought against a negligent party who caused someone’s death. Alternatively, you may file a survival action. When someone you love dies because of someone’s actions, it is important that you know about these two types of lawsuits.

A wrongful death lawsuit is filed in court by a spouse, children, dependent family member or a personal representative of the estate. Punitive damages may not be recovered in this type of lawsuit. What can be recovered, under California law, is compensation for loss of support, funeral and burial expenses, loss of service, loss of companionship and loss of sexual cohabitation.

A survival cause of action is filed by the personal representative of the state or the successor-of-interest of the decedent. This type of lawsuit can only be brought when the decedent lived for a short time between the accident and their death. The types of damages that can be those that the decedent incurred before death, or those that the estate would have recovered had the person lived. Damages do not include pain and suffering.

When it is appropriate, these separate lawsuits may be combined into one.

Any person who has lost a loved one due to the neglect of someone else should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney. An attorney can advise a survivor of the type of lawsuit that best meets their unique situation.