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How do survival actions and wrongful death claims differ?

When an individual dies due to someone else's negligence, it is not uncommon for surviving family members to consider filing legal claims against the person believed responsible. Wrongful death claims are often filed in an attempt to recover the financial losses family members suffer as a result of their loved one's death -- such as funeral costs, lost wages and benefits and a number of other associated monetary damages. What few Texas residents may realize is the ability surviving family members also have to file survival actions on behalf of the deceased.

Survival actions are actually quite different from wrongful death claims. Wrongful death claims are filed for the expenses surviving family members suffer as a result of their loved one's death. Survival actions, on the other hand, are essentially personal injury claims on behalf of the deceased. These are petitions deceased victims could have made for themselves had they survived their injuries.

While wrongful death claims focus on simply the financial aspect of a person's death, survival actions go even further and consider the victim's pain and suffering and his or her personal monetary losses. Several factors are considered with this type of petition including the length of suffering. Any monetary judgment offered for this type of claim is typically awarded to the victim's estate and not one particular family member.

Whether filing a wrongful death claim, survival actions or both, each type of petition deserves proper attention to detail. These cases can be complex and difficult to navigate. An experienced personal injury attorney can help Texas residents with every aspect of their claim, including filing all appropriate legal documents and seeking the maximum amount of compensation allowable under applicable laws.

Source: FindLaw, "How Do Survival Statutes Affect Injury Lawsuits?", Aditi Mukherji, Jan. 6, 2015

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