Wrongful Death Vs. Survival Action

If someone dies due to a personal injury, their death can be claimed as a wrongful death lawsuit. There is also such thing as a law case due to survival action. But what do these two terms necessarily mean for those involved? There are some major differences and similarities to be noted, so here are some things you should know if you feel you might have a case in one or the other.

Major differences

The main difference between these two law terms has to do with separate damages being awarded to the estate involved. Wrongful death laws allow those financially impacted by the death to be awarded damages.

Wrongful death pertains to the surviving family members. For example, if a family member who died due to negligence provided the income for a household, the family members could file a wrongful death lawsuit. Survival laws pertain to expenses that the plaintiff dealt with while they were alive. For example, if someone was misdiagnosed and they faced a large amount of medical expenses as they were dying, they could sue.

After their passing, their family members would still be able to continue the case and be awarded damages. If the plaintiff would have lived otherwise, there would be pain and suffering damages to sue for based on negligence of a doctor or hospital.

Who handles these cases?

In most cases, a survival action or wrongful death claim is filed by close family members, depending on who the representative of the estate is. Ideally, the deceased has a will, which is what decides who the representative of the estate is. If there is no will, then it has to be decided who the representative is: for example, a brother, sister, spouse or child of the deceased.  

In the case that there is no surviving heir, then someone must become a personal representative. This could be another family member or someone appointed by the court. If an award is obtained in the case, it will be paid to the estate of the descendant, and not directly to other relatives. Also, the debts will be paid with the award obtained.

Any leftover money will then be paid to beneficiaries. Compensation in these cases aren’t exclusive to parents, spouses, or children. It could go to grandparents and other family members as well.

What to do if you feel you have a case  

There is a lot of pain and suffering involved when a loved one dies. If you are suffering financial stress and feel that someone else was negligent in their death, then you could possibly have a case on your hands.

Talk to your other family members and related dependents of your loved one to develop a case and discussion about a potential lawsuit. The first step is looking for a successful personal injury law firm like Davis Kelin Law Firm. Finding one that specializes in your type of case will make things go a lot more smoothly, as they will have expert knowledge on relevant laws and how these cases typically go.

You also must spend some time evaluating your situation and what you are looking to get out of it. Think about who is at fault, whether it be a hospital system or company. Take a look at the evidence you have that they were negligent in the death of a loved one. Having multiple forms of evidence will improve your chances in a wrongful death or survival action lawsuit.

These cases aren’t easy, but can lessen the stress of grieving. Talk to a lawyer if you feel that you are eligible for a wrongful death or survival action lawsuit.

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