She gave a deposition about the cAse and her lawyer told me she had one of the best cases of all girls. My daughter passed away of a drug overdose at 22years old on March 27, 2015. She had a serious drug problem that she struggled with. She had 12 months sober at 18 and 7 months sober in 2013 but, relapsed after a car accident and her experiences with the owners.
I was contacted by her lawyers and told they would have to drop her from the lawsuit because she was dead. That doesn't seem right. What can we do? We wanted to help her cause with the money. I believe it was a large amount and it could help a lot of other people.
The law suite caused her so much anguish that she ultimately overdosed. Can you please tell me her rights and also what we can do to follow through with this?
State laws vary somewhat and you would need to get advice from a California attorney to know exactly what is going on. However, this is how it generally works for a claim in Colorado:
Most claims, including personal injury claims, survive the death of the plaintiff and can be taken over by the plaintiff's estate. You would need to be appointed the personal representative of her daughter's estate in order to pursue the claim. However, pursuing a "survival action" presents some problems. First, the claim is more difficult to pursue without the availability of the plaintiff to testify. This makes the claim much harder (sometimes impossible) to establish. Second, certain damages which would be available in a lawsuit when the plaintiff is alive - particularly ongoing emotional distress and loss of future earnings - cannot be pursued by the estate of the plaintiff. This can dramatically reduce the potential recovery to the point where it may not be worth the expense of pursuing the claim any longer.
In addition to the "survival action" either her estate or certain relatives (such as her parents) may have the right under state law to pursue a wrongful death action. However, it would be necessary to tie her death directly to the Defendant's actions. That possibility might be worth exploring with an attorney, but it may not be possible to tie her death directly enough to the actions of the Defendants where she overdosed a significant time after breaking contact with them.
You need to review the situation with a California attorney to determine whether there are any remaining claims that can be effectively pursued.
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My goodness . . . I am so very sorry for your situation. I cannot imagine the sadness you have experienced, both before and after your daughter's passing. My prayers go out to you.
I would ask the attorney to simply write you a letter that explains why there is no right to recovery. In my view, it is simple . . . and to you heartbreaking. Claims do not generally survive the passing of the claimant. Of course, wrongful death claims are different, but I cannot tell from your post if that is a possibility. What it reads like is the claims arose from things that did not cause your daughter's passing, although I cannot tell.
Once the attorney help you understand the decision to no longer advance your daughter's claims. reach out to personal injury attorneys in Colorado to see if any remedies are available to you as family members. The chances are most likely slim but it may give you some peace of mind.
Good luck to you.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
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