Survival actions are brought by the personal representative or successor in interest of the deceased person’s estate and seek the types of damages the deceased victim could have pursued in a personal injury claim if he or she had survived. By contrast, wrongful death claims are brought by the surviving family members of deceased victims to recover compensation for the harms they have suffered because of their loved ones’ deaths. The changes to the law affect the types of damages that are recoverable in survival actions brought by the estate for the benefit of the heirs.
A law that was recently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will make significant changes to survival actions and wrongful death claims and the types of damages that can be recovered in them. The changes to the law might substantially increase the damages that might be recoverable when people are killed as a result of the negligent or wrongful actions of others.