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N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 9414
Experience:  attorney at self
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A family member started a law suit against his employer for

Customer Question

A family member started a law suit against his employer for injury while on the job. He recently died for other reasons. According to him, the case was settled and he was waiting for payment. Since his death his lawyer states the case lost value due to his death. Is this true. The other matter is that his family appointed his brother to continue the case. Is there something that has to be filed in order for the brother to continue?
JA: Can you tell me what state this is in? And do you have copies of the medical records?
Customer: California. We have very little records of what the now deceased family member has. Most everything was done verbally. They are asking the same questions to the brother about the manner of the work accident. It very difficult to get this lawyer to do anything
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Do you mean with workers comp?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I don't think anything has been filed. The lawyer sent him to a doctor and that's all we know
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for your question.

If the case settled while he was alive, his death has no effect on the value of the case.

In any event, someone has to file a probate case to get an administrator appointed to continue to handle the claim or to take charge of the settlement if there is one.

Please see the article starting at page 43 of https://www.lacba.org/docs/default-source/lal-back-issues/2003-issues/julyaugust-2003.pdf

I hope this information is helpful.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for the link. From what I understand of the article we might be understanding the case value differently if you say his death has no effect on the value of the case. I believe the article is stating that punitive damages do not survive the case upon death which means that the plaintiff or his survivors will not receive the whole value of his original claim. Am I right?
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

Yes, an estate cannot sue for punitive damages but if a judgment was final before the plaintiff died, the judgment remains enforceable even if it includes punitive damages.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It never went to court. It was settled out of court. Would the settlement remain the same?
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

Yes, if the settlement was made while the plaintiff was alive, the settlement remains binding even after the death of the plaintiff.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
We do not get return emails nor is the attorney present when we set an appointment. We are unable to get this attorney to answer any questions. They continue to set us up with office staff to ask the same simple questions as if we are starting the case. Is there a time limit to file a probate case? This attorney doesn't see to any of this. What can we do about this attorney? The case has been ongoing for 3 years.
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

Did the deceased leave a Will?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No, there is no will.
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

Someone has to file a probate case, get a personal representative appointed by the Court, and then the personal representative will have the legal authority to deal with the claim.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Can this be done online or do we have to go to the Los Angeles court where the deceased lived. What happens to the attorney that was handling the case? Is there a time limit to file a probate case? and what document will be filed? I'd like to know how much the fees will be.
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

There is no time limit to file but it cannot be done on line. You can get a free consultation from some of the LA probate attornerys listed here.

Fees in probate cases are set bt the court based on a percentage of the value of the estate pluys any extraordinary services required. The attorney that was handling the case should have told you everything I have.