Previously, families in California could not collect human suffering damages on behalf of their decedent family member who passed away before the end of their trial. However, a new law will remove this restriction starting January 1, 2022.
States that Prohibit Pain and Suffering for Family Members
Currently, California, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, and Florida are the only states that prohibit family members of plaintiffs from collecting pain and suffering damages once the plaintiff passes away.
Recently, the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed Senate Bill 447 that eliminates the prior law that extinguished human suffering damages at death.
When companies are sued for exposing people to dangerous conditions, resulting in illnesses like mesothelioma, they often drag out the trial in hopes the plaintiff will pass away before trial and this human suffering damages, also known as non-economic damages, would die with them. This new bill will prevent this from happening in the future.
In addition to companies delaying trials, the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to many trials being delayed since the spring of 2020.
Although this new bill will ensure human suffering damages will be paid to surviving family members, the plaintiffs must be alive on, or had preference granted prior to, January 1, 2022 to receive the benefits.