The differences between personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits in San Clemente can be confusing, especially since wrongful death law is an area of law practiced by personal injury attorneys in California. The two types of claims are closely related, but they are not the same. It is important to understand the distinctions to ensure that you take necessary steps to file the proper claim and that you do so in a timely manner. Our San Clemente personal injury attorneys will tell you more about the distinctions between personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits.
Personal Injury Law and Wrongful Death Law Arise Out of Another Party’s Fault for Injuries
Both personal injury law and wrongful death law in California arise out of another party’s fault or liability for injuries, which makes these two areas of the law quite similar. To be sure, both personal injury law and wrongful death law allow a plaintiff to file a lawsuit in order to hold the liable or responsible party accountable for the injuries they have caused. However, there are also a number of key distinctions that you should understand.
Plaintiff is Different in a Personal Injury Lawsuit Versus a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The plaintiff will be different in a personal injury lawsuit than in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff will nearly always be the person who suffered the injury. However, in a wrongful death lawsuit, the law recognizes that the person who actually suffered the injury is no longer alive and able to bring a claim on their own behalf. Accordingly, the law allows another party to step into the deceased person’s shoes, metaphorically, and to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Both personal injury law and wrongful death law are governed by state law, which means that wrongful death laws can vary from state to state. While each state recognizes the right of another person to stand in the shoes of the deceased in order to file a lawsuit against the liable party, that person who is allowed to step into the deceased’s shoes, metaphorically, can differ from state to state. In California, the surviving family members or the representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Accordingly, a surviving spouse, adult child, or parent may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. If no such person exists, the representative of the deceased’s estate can file the lawsuit.
Clock on the Statute of Limitations Starts “Ticking” at Different Points
While the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits is two years in both cases, the clock on the statute of limitations will begin “ticking” at different points in time. For a personal injury lawsuit, the two-year statute of limitations starts ticking on the date of the injury, according to California law. For wrongful death lawsuits, the clock begins “ticking” on the date of death.
Contact a San Clemente Personal Injury Attorney
If you need assistance filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, one of our experienced San Clemente personal injury attorneys can assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we serve clients in personal injury and wrongful death claims in Southern California.
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