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Posted by AgnewBrusavich | Jun 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

When a person is harmed by the negligence or fault of another, they can bring a lawsuit to recover all damages caused, including medical expenses incurred and lost wages, which are called economic or special damages. They can also seek to recover damages for the pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, what are called noneconomic or general damages. What happens if that person dies while the lawsuit is pending?

If the person dies from complications of the original injury, the heirs could file a wrongful death action seeking economic damages for the loss of financial support and noneconomic damages for the loss of the love and companionship suffered by the loss of the loved one. If the death was unrelated to the original injury, a wrongful death action would not be appropriate.

Regardless of the cause of death, the heirs could bring a survival action to recover the damages suffered by the personal injury victim before death. Before 2022, the damages recoverable were limited to the economic losses. Due to the successful passage of Senate Bill 447 in 2021, California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.34 was amended to allow for the recovery of the decedent's noneconomic damages, or the pain and suffering endured before death.

If you have any questions about this new law and how it may apply if you lost a loved one, contact the attorneys at Agnew Brusavich for a free consultation.

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