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California’s Senate Bill 447 – An Overview of What it is

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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 447 on October 1st, 2021. This bill, proposed by State Senator John Laird (D), is now an amendment to the California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.34 and permits the claimants of wrongful death in California to receive damages for the deceased’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement. What is the Existing Law? Before the amendment, the law under the current California legal scheme stated that when a person passed away due to an injury by a tortfeasor, the deceased’s successors/heirs could file a survival lawsuit.

In this survival lawsuit, they would be able to receive damages for economic losses up to the time of death. Economic losses are monetary losses, including doctor’s fees, hospital bills, medication bills, and wages lost after the injury until death.

It would also comprise any penalties or damages the deceased would have received if they had survived. However, an individual would receive no compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. (1) What are the New Changes? Following the Senate Bill 447, the decedent’s successors can receive economic and non-economic damages.

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