Establishing Liability in a West Palm Beach Survival Action Case

A survival action is a claim in which the claimant ultimately dies but not as a result of the underlying negligence claim. For example, in a survival action, somebody can be involved in a car accident and have suffered three years of pain, treatment, and loss of wages, but then has a heart attack completely unrelated to the auto accident that results in their death. If you want to know more about establishing liability in a West Palm Beach survival action case, consult a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney who could help.

Elements When Proving Liability

The only way that one has a claim realistically is if somebody else was negligent in causing the injuries that the decedent has suffered. So, it is not enough that somebody is just involved in a crash and they are injured, because one cannot recover for their own negligence. If someone is at fault for the crash, they are not going to be able to recover money for their injuries. The first thing they have to do is establish that somebody else was the cause of the injuries to the ultimate decedent or the person that someone is representing.

What Happens After Liability is Established?

After establishing liability in a West Palm Beach survival action case and determining that they can still pursue the case because the fault was somebody other than the deceased’s, at that point the attorney will evaluate the damages and assess which types of economic and non-economic damages are available to them. They would want to evaluate whether there is insurance coverage available. If they determine there is no insurance coverage available, then they would want to do an investigation as to the assets that the at-fault party has and whether or not those are collectible. In short, once they have determined liability, attorneys move on to the damages that the survivors of the deceased may be able to recover.

The vast majority of the cases that we handle are brought in a civil action. They are brought in circuit court and, ultimately, an individual is required in litigating the case to attend the mediation. So, one normally attempts to get the case resolved in a mediation.

Duration of Survival Actions

Every case is different and it is hard to put a timeframe on a case, but a survival action can take a considerable amount of time because it depends on the timing of the person’s death. for example, if the person was involved in a car crash and suffered major injuries and has to treat for his or her injuries over the course of the next year and then they ultimately pass away, they have already got a year’s time that has elapsed.

If the survivors of the deceased are bringing a wrongful death claim in which the person died immediately, they are bringing that action for wrongful death right away. So, in some respects, a survival action could take longer than a wrongful death action, but every case has to be determined on its merits:  How many people were involved in the incident? Who is potentially liable? How long did the investigation take? Typically, from start to finish, cases last on average somewhere in the 18-month range.

How a West Palm Beach Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

The way an attorney approaches establishing liability in a West Palm Beach survival action case depends on how the underlying incident occurred. If the person was involved in an auto accident, the first steps taken include obtaining the police report, trying to identify witnesses and contacting those witnesses, and obtaining statements. If a person is discussing a slip and fall or something like that, the attorney would want to know whether an incident report was generated and whether there were any cameras that could have caught the fall. Attorneys also want to see if there are any traffic cameras that could have caught the incident in the case of an auto accident. They would want to preserve the vehicles or preserve any evidence that could potentially help them down the road. The most helpful thing a person can do is to be forthcoming with information. There is a lot that goes into investigating these types of claims, and by providing information, an individual could help an attorney hold the at-faul party accountable.