Survival Actions vs Wrongful Death Claims

By September 24, 2014Personal Injury - Accidents

By Jacob F. Kimball
Attorney at Law
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC

Survival actions may be brought when the intentional or negligent act of another causes a death. It is important to understand the difference between survival actions and wrongful death actions, as they are different legal theories entitling claimants to different damages, but may sometimes be brought in the same lawsuit. Essentially, in a wrongful death action, the person making the claim is seeking damages suffered by him or her because of the decedent’s death, whereas in a survival action, the deceased’s estate is advancing the deceased’s claims against the person who caused the death.

In a survival action, damages are limited to “pecuniary” losses that occurred before the deceased died. For example, if a person gets in a car accident and dies in the hospital from those injuries a month later, that person’s lost wages and medical expenses incurred between the time of the accident and death would be recoverable in a survival action.

To bring a survival action, you must have proper legal “standing.” Because the beneficiary of a survival action is the deceased’s estate, the action should be brought by the estate’s personal representative.

Survival actions can be quite complex and emotional. In addition, they may overlap with wrongful death claims. As a result, you should consult with an experienced survival and wrongful death action attorney. If you have questions about whether you may have a survival or wrongful death action, the Gasper Law Group offers free consultations.