Tacoma Attorneys Explain Survival Lawsuits in Washington
Continuing the fight for injury compensation after your loved one has passed
Once a person sustains an injury caused by another person or persons, the law recognizes that “a cause of action” has been created. That cause of action, the legal right to seek redress in a court of law, has a life of its own. In fact, it’s possible for a cause of action to outlive the plaintiff and/or the defendant. If your loved one had grounds for a personal injury lawsuit and subsequently passed away — from the original injuries or from an unrelated cause — that right to sue becomes an asset of your loved one’s estate. The estate representative can decide whether to proceed with a lawsuit, settle or let the claim lapse. At Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., we understand the difficult decisions families face in the aftermath of a loved one’s death. Our client-centered practice puts you at the forefront of all decisions regarding your litigation. Since 1959, we’ve helped representatives of deceased plaintiffs make the appropriate decision for their families regarding survival lawsuits.
How is a survival of action different from a wrongful death lawsuit?
While wrongful death attempts to compensate family members for the loss of a loved one, a survival action is the continuation of a personal injury lawsuit that the injured party had filed prior to death. The survival action seeks compensation for noneconomic losses personal to the deceased, including:
The eligible beneficiaries are the same as those in a wrongful death claim. It is also worth noting that the injured plaintiff need not have died as a result of the injury event cited in the original lawsuit. Therefore, if a plaintiff files a personal injury lawsuit after sustaining a broken hip in a premises liability accident and later dies from an unrelated heart attack, the right to prosecute passes to the person’s estate.
What is the statute of limitations for survival actions?
The estate representative must file the survival action within the statute of limitations for the deceased person’s injury. For most personal injury cases, the time limit to bring a lawsuit is three years, although a court sometimes allows extensions in cases where the plaintiff did not know until later that an injury had occurred or was incapacitated and unable to file.
Contact our Tacoma wrongful death attorneys to learn about your rights
If someone’s negligence claimed the life of your loved one, you may be eligible for compensation. Talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, call us at 253.250.4516 or contact our office online.