Main difference between a wrongful death suit and a survivor’s action in San Diego.

California – August 23, 2022

Surviving family members may wonder “Where can I find attorneys near me?” when they need assistance determining if they can file a wrongful death suit and a survivor’s action after a motor vehicle accident leading to death.  While a wrongful death suit is initiated when someone dies due to negligence of another in California, survival actions falling under the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30 address compensation to address harms suffered by a person whose injuries lead to eventual death, but they live long enough to suffer harm, property and fiscal loss, and medical expenses that are valued toward award compensation.

Wrongful death.

A wrongful death case addresses compensation to the estate and the loved ones for their loss, but a survival action allows litigation for injuries suffered by the victim that they did not have a chance to sue for because the injury led to their eventual death.

Parties who can file a survival action.

Survival actions are not meant to compensate surviving family and loved ones, but they are to compensate the estate for injuries caused to the victim prior to their death, but after the wrongful death action.  The personal representative of the fatally injured victim can pursue a survival action and may be the estate lawyer, a person named in a trust or will, or a member of the family.  Talk to a San Diego wrongful death attorney to ascertain the particulars surrounding a survival action after a fatal accident.

Survival action recoverable damages.

Recoverable damages in a survival action are limited to those suffered by the decedent from the time of the accident up until the time of their death. Recovery is limited to monetary damages, and including:

  • Medical bills,
  • Lost wages,
  • Property damage or loss.

Pain and suffering, loss of consortium and companionship and loss of future fiscal contribution is addressed in a wrongful death action.

Hire an attorney.

Seek counsel at Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates immediately after an accident leading to fatal injury for guidance on how to navigate through the tragic period. Accident attorneys can proceed in filing wrongful death actions (within the two-year period from the date a person died) against any identified negligent parties that will enable compensation to pay bills related to funerals, emergent hospital care and negative financial impacts to family members. Survivor’s actions may also be pursued when a victim suffers for a period before their death because of an accident.

Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, a Professional Law Corporation
501 West Broadway, Suite 1650
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-233-8021
Fax: 619-233-3730


  1. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=17150
  2. Law section (ca.gov)
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