When someone dies as the result of someone else’s negligence, the most commonly filed claim is a wrongful death claim. While laws vary from state to state, in most cases it’s the immediate family members who are eligible to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. A survival action claim, however, can recover compensation for any pain or suffering the victim may have experienced before their death as a result of their injuries.
Although both types of claims are similar, the differences have to do with who is eligible to file and how the compensation is dispersed. If someone you love has passed due to another party’s negligent, intentional, or reckless actions, it will be important to seek an experienced wrongful death attorney. After a consultation, they will be able to help determine what the best options are for your case going forward.
Survival Action Claims
During a wrongful death claim, compensation is sought for the family of the victim to cover financial damages, pain, and suffering as a result of the victim’s death. A survival action, however, is focused on seeking compensation for suffering, pain, and financial damages the victim incurred as a result of the accident. This usually includes lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damages that the decedent would have been able to recover through an insurance claim, had they lived.
While immediate family members can seek damages from a wrongful death claim directly if heirs choose to bring a survival action instead the funds are treated a bit differently. Instead of being paid to the family members, the awarded damages will go to the decedent’s estate and will be dispersed via the executor of the estate.
Again, these laws vary from state to state. In some states, heirs may be able to file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action. If you are unsure about the laws in your state regarding these claims, it’s best to seek an attorney to help you.
Survival Action Claimants
Survival action claims can be filed by the decedent’s heirs. When it comes to the term “heirs,” there can be some confusion around what that means. Generally speaking, most states will consider the decedent’s children and spouse to be their heirs. In some cases, however, siblings, grandparents, or parents can be considered to be heirs.
If you have any questions about which heirs can initiate a survival action, an experienced wrongful death attorney, like a wrongful death law firm in Indianapolis, IN, will be able to help you. With their knowledge of state and federal wrongful death laws, they will be able to guide you through the difficult process.
Thank you to the experts at Ward & Ward Law Firm, for their insight into personal injury law.