How to Pursue a Civil Case if the Defendant Dies Before Trial

Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases

Wrongful death cases get extremely complicated if the defendant passes away before the trial begins. This event is common in car accidents where the driver who caused the accident was also fatally injured. It is commonly noticed that people tend to assume that it is impossible to claim the rightful compensation if the defendant passes away. This is not true. Although it may be a time consuming and tedious process, it is very much possible to establish claims to compensation that you deserve. Expert wrongful death lawyers will be able to get the job done very easily.

Suing a Deceased Defendant

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to file a lawsuit against a deceased person. However, ensure that your lawsuit comes within the framework of the statute of limitations. This is, in a way, the deadline to file such a claim. This will also help maintain the record of the lawsuit. You may not be able to file the lawsuit once the statute of limitations expires. In the majority of instances, the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is two years in California.

There are laws that allow plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against the estate of the defendant who passed away. If the case succeeds, you may be able to collect your compensation from the defendant’s auto insurance company. In case the compensation provided was satisfactory, you need to take no further action. On the other hand, if the compensation is below the required level, you need to further seek the compensation. This can be obtained either from the individual’s collectible assets or from the individual’s estate.

It is mentioned in the California Probate Code Sections 550 and 552 states that any action planned by the plaintiff seeking recovery should be filed against the insurer of the deceased person. After this, a lawsuit is then carried out on the insurer and further pursued against the insurance carrier. According to Probate Code 551, it is possible to file a lawsuit against the entity within one year of the statute of limitations expires.

If the person tends to miss out on it, the plaintiff can get a year extra to file a lawsuit. This is also known as a “grace period”. The Probate Code Section 377.42 says that the plaintiff can recover all damages incurred when a wrongful death lawsuit is filed in opposition to the estate of a decedent.

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