What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action?

What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action?

| May 13, 2021 | Wrongful Death |

It is always tragic when a loved one’s life is cut short — but that’s especially true when the death was caused by someone’s negligence.

When that happens, a wrongful death claim can help provide the victim’s survivors with compensation for their losses associated with a loved one’s untimely death.

But what about the suffering the victim endured prior to their passing? That’s where a survival action comes in.

Survival actions take the place of the victim’s personal injury claim

Historically, a personal injury lawsuit could not proceed if the victim died. Now, the law has changed to allow survival actions to take their place.

A survival action can be brought in conjunction with a wrongful death claim any time the victim would have been able to pursue an injury claim if they had lived. Specifically, this statute allows the victim’s survivors (via the estate’s representative) to file a claim for the victim’s pain and suffering prior to their death.

How do you know if a survival action is possible? In essence, if your loved one experienced any kind of mental anguish or pain prior to their death as a result of the other party’s negligence, you may have a case.

For example, if your loved one was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, they could have experienced a tremendous amount of fear as they saw the vehicle barreling toward them. If they lived — even briefly — following the wreck, they would have suffered pain. Under state law, both of those deserve compensation.

When a loved one’s life was wrongfully ended

Pursuing justice after a wrongful death of a loved one can be complicated. Survival actions are frequently overlooked. Working with an experienced legal advocate can help you avoid mistakes that will limit your claim and prevent you from holding liable the party who caused or contributed to your loved one’s death.