Wrongful death is the preventable and avoidable death of a loved one caused by another person. In Texas, you can hold a person liable when they cause an injury that results in death if the injury arose because of the person’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” You can seek justice by pursuing a survival action and a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a survival action?
A survival action is one where the heirs, legal representatives, and estate of the deceased bring a personal injury lawsuit against the liable person as if their loved one was still alive. The goal is to compensate the deceased’s estate. The damages you can recover from a survival action are the following:
- The pain and suffering of the deceased
- Medical bills and expenses incurred before the death
- Lost wages due to the injuries
- Property damages because of the accident
Basically, a survival action allows you to recover all the damages the deceased incurred from the time of their injury leading to their death. The damages from a survival action will go to the estate and are subject to distribution.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
By contrast, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased can pursue to recover the damages they personally suffered. The damages you can recover from a wrongful death claim include:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of household services and practical support
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- Loss of future earning potential
- The cost of replacing the benefits the deceased should have earned or accumulated
- Pain and suffering due to the death of their loved one
- Mental anguish brought about by the loss
- Funeral and burial expenses
You may have grounds to file both civil actions under certain circumstances. However, both have their own statute of limitations and differing legal requirements. Understanding how each can benefit you and your family can help you seek justice for the death of your loved one, even though no amount of compensation can replace them.