The Difference Between Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Survival Action

Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. When that loss is because of another person or company’s negligence, it is heartbreaking and deserves justice. These complex situations can be stressful and confusing, and while you always strive to make the best choices for your lost loved one and your family, many of those who find themselves in these situations are unsure of what to do next. When someone dies because of the wrongful actions of another, the family of the deceased person is presented with two potential options for lawsuits, and it is important to know the difference when deciding what to do next. 


Wrongful Death


Although no lawsuit or settlement will ever compensate a family for their loved one, it is one of the few ways our legal system allows justice. Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed after the death of a loved one by the surviving inheritors of her/his estate. In most cases, this is the spouse, child, or other dependent family members of the deceased. While punitive damages may not be recovered from this lawsuit, many other damages can be sought including:


– burial costs

– loss  of services

– loss of financial support

– loss of companionship or sexual relations


The damages family members can recover from a wrongful death lawsuit are the harms suffered by the family, including the loss of love, care, comfort, and society.  There is no amount of value you can place on a loved one, but unfortunately, the law only allows for money to be awarded.


Survival Action


A survival action suit differs in that the damages collected from a survival action suit would be those that the deceased would have been able to fight for had she/he survived. These cases are eligible in instances where the deceased survived for a period of time, later succumbing to his/her injuries. These damages are described as, “the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred before death, including any penalties or punitive or exemplary damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived.” Damages for pain or suffering cannot be collected from a survival action lawsuit. 


It is our hope that any settlement or verdict be used to honor the memory of a loved one. We battle for our client against the one who caused the terrible tragedy, but also assist them in using any proceeds to ensure the memory of their child, parent, husband, or wife continues on. In these terrible times of need, we strive to support our clients, answer any questions you may have, and guide you in making the best decision for all of those involved. If you have a question about a potential wrongful death or survival action lawsuit, call us at (949) 753-9100 for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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