California Revised Its Survival Action Statute

As of January 1, 2022, significant amendments were made to the long-standing California law, Code of Civil Procedure [“C.C.P.”]§ 377.34, which may greatly affect your wrongful death case. These major amendments aim to resolve survival action cases in the State of California, marking California the 46th state to allow this type of recovery for a deceased person, otherwise known as a decedent.

Here, we will compare the old CCP 377.34 versus the revised version and what these amendments could mean for decedents and their families.

Not only is this news significant for the State of California, but it may impact how the Peck Law Group attorneys handle wrongful death claims in the future.

Wrongful Death Claim Versus Survival Action

A wrongful death claim emphasizes the decedent’s close family members, allowing them to file a wrongful death action against those responsible for the decedent’s death and damages.

Potential damages in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Grief
  • Suffering
  • Financial losses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical bills.

A survival action alleges a decedent’s sustained damages between injury and actual death.

In most states, a survival action occurs in tandem with a wrongful death claim. Additionally, the decedent’s estate often recovers damages for a decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement in a survival action.

Before the current amendments to CCP 377.34, survival action claims could not be made in conjunction with wrongful death claims in the State of California.

Comparing the Old CCP 377.34 & Revised CCP 377.34

Initially, the long-standing CCP 377.34 prevented any recovery of damages for a decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement in a survival action, including financial.

Now, the revised CCP 377.34 states that recovery of said damages is permitted through January 1, 2026, in the State of California.

When Does the Revised CCP 377.34 Take Effect?

On October 1, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved amendments for the survival action statute under Senate Bill Number 447.

On January 1, 2022, the amended CCP 377.34 went into effect, increasing the price to resolve survival actions in California.

Under the revised CCP 377.34, all civil cases filed on or after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2026, will be allowed to recover damages for a decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement in a survival action.

The current end date of January 1, 2026 means the revised law is not yet permanent in the State of California.

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