Understanding The Differences Between Wrongful Death Claims And Survival Actions


Wrongful death claims often come with a survival action lawsuit as well. The survivorship tort is not the same as the wrongful death one. But because the two often occur together, it can cause some confusion for the beneficiaries and the estate of the victim. However, the survival action suit is an important one.

Understanding Wrongful Death Actions

If a death occurs because of another's negligence, then the estate of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. This claim can happen because the death was preventable and would not have occurred if not for the actions of the negligent party. This leaves,

  • A family with no one to provide for them
  • Financial obligations with no one to pay for them
  • Loss of companionship and emotional support

It also leaves people who must continue life without the help, guidance, and personal relationship of the person that's now gone. These are the things that wrongful death actions attempt to cover as best they can.

These damages can cover medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. They can also cover lost wages and even a general amount that represents how much the deceased would have made in their working lifetime. Other damages include the kinds of things that fall under pain and suffering.

However, not all courts award damages for pain and suffering in a wrongful death action. In some cases, there are strict limitations on what they will or won't pay out for pain and suffering. These damages are for the decedent's beneficiaries. It's important to note that those considered beneficiaries can vary by state as well.

Understanding Survival Actions

Survival actions can balance out some of what the wrongful death actions miss. Survival actions are a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. In this case, the estate stands in place of the person who is no longer there to press charges.

To put that in perspective, the wrongful death actions represent the beneficiaries suing for their loss of support and future support. Survival actions are the estate suing in place of the deceased.

Survival actions seek damages for the decedent's medical bills and lost wages from the moment they were injured up until their death. This also includes pain and suffering. In cases where the death was abrupt and immediate, then the estate can still sue for pain and suffering.

Because of this, damages awarded in survival actions go to the estate, they do not necessarily go to the beneficiaries, as is the case with wrongful death actions. The estate will hand out funds according to the decedent's will or according to the local laws if no will is available.

Seek Professional Help if You Want to Pursue Both Claims

State laws vary greatly in how they deal with both wrongful death and survival actions. If you want to make the best of an upsetting situation, you should speak to personal injury attorney with a history of dealing with wrongful death claims.

He or she can help you figure out how best to pursue both kinds of lawsuits without having one hinder the other. They can also let you know if it's possible to pursue both, or if you should consider one over the other. For more information, contact a professional like Fitzsimmons & Vervaecke Law Firm.


18 June 2015

Starting the Healing Process

When I was a child, my father was the pastor of a small evangelical church in my hometown. I always enjoyed going to church in order to play with my friends. One of these friends suffered a horrific accident at a local gas station one day. As he was walking towards the entrance to the gas station, he was struck by a vehicle. His leg was seriously injured during the accident. To help with the expenses of recovery, his father hired an accident and personal injury attorney. This professional helped my friend’s father sue the person who struck his son. On this blog, you will discover the advantages of hiring an accident and personal injury attorney after incurring injuries from a devastating accident.