What If a Person Dies before Finishing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Do you worry about dying before your personal injury claim concludes?
That’s a significant concern, especially when you are likely to die from the injuries you sustain or other health problems. You want to know what will happen to the compensation you deserve and if the at-fault party would still be penalized.
Fortunately, the law allows other eligible people to represent you in court if you pass away before you finish an injury lawsuit. To prepare, you only need to discuss this possibility with a personal injury attorney in Glendale.
Continuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After the Plaintiff’s Death
Your injury claim can continue if you die before it concludes. The law allows eligible people from a deceased plaintiff’s estate to continue the case.
A successor in interest from your estate can pursue the case if you have a valid will. A successor is an entitled inheritor of your estate through your testament.
However, one of your closest relatives can also take action if you do not have a testament. That could be your:
- Adult Child
- Other eligible people not explicitly stated by the law
Understanding Wrongful Death and Survival Actions
Your representative will continue the lawsuit, either by survival or wrongful death actions. And that depends on the circumstances surrounding your injury and death.
Your estate representative can take survival actions if you die due to a cause other than your injuries in question. It lets them claim your rightful compensation as if you had not died.
For example, you had sustained injuries from an auto accident, but you died because of pre-existing lung cancer. Your representative can take your place in the lawsuit as if you are still alive.
They can then claim the compensations you deserve from the case like:
- Injury-related medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
However, they can only claim benefits that cover the time until your death. For example, they cannot claim lost income that you could earn starting from your time of death. They cannot claim death benefits from the personal injury case too.
Wrongful Death Claim
Your representative can file a wrongful death claim if your death directly results from the injuries you sustain. It makes the defendant liable for your injuries and death. And your loved ones can claim damages for the suffering they experience.
The benefits your representative can claim may include:
- Funeral and burial cost
- Loss of financial support
- Emotional suffering because of your death
- Loss of a sexual companion
- Loss of guidance
On a side note, remember that your representative can file survival actions along with a wrongful death claim. That means they can get compensation for your injury lawsuit while securing death benefits from their case.
Statute of Limitations for Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Claims
Now, it’s vital to remember the statute of limitations when taking survival actions or filing wrongful death claims.
Your loved ones can only file a wrongful death claim within two years after your death. And they can only take survival actions within two years after the accident or six months after your death, whichever comes later.
That’s why it’s better to take action as soon as possible to avoid letting the deadline pass.
Consult a Glendale Personal Injury Lawyer about these Options Immediately
It’s difficult to talk about and prepare for your death, especially if it’s likely to happen soon. However, it’s better to be ready if you still have a pending personal injury lawsuit.
Thankfully, you have excellent options to consider for your loved ones to take. Call a personal injury attorney in Glendale for better advice befitting your case.