If your spouse, parent or child has been injured due to another's negligent actions (or inactions), you may be justified in pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Similar action may be warranted in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit if the aforementioned party's negligence results in your loved one's death. If, in the former scenario, you initiated legal action before your loved one died, does that differentiate your case from the latter? Several of those that we here at the Leigh Law Firm have worked with in The Woodlands have asked that very same question.
The law recognizes two different types of liability cases involving negligence that leads to death: wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions. Wrongful death lawsuits focus on the losses that you and your loved one's other dependents are forced to deal with. The damages in such a case are meant to compensate for your being denied his or her support, companionship and potential inheritance. Survival actions, on the other hand, are designed to compensate your loved one for what he or she endured prior to his or her death. Potential damages in such a case are meant to cover:
- The medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident that ultimately caused his or her death
- The pain and anguish he or she had to go through due to the incident
- His or her funeral and burial expenses
Why is it called a survival claim even though your loved one died? According to Section 71.021 of Texas' Civil Practice and Remedies Code, personal injury claims survive to you and other heirs following the death of your loved one. Thus, the case proceeds as though he or she were still alive.
You can learn more about legal actions involving wrongful death by further exploring our site.