After a wrongful death, survivors may file two different suits. The first suit, wrongful death is the most common. A survival action, on the other hand, is less known. Survivors file this suit on behalf of the deceased person. This type of case occurs if the deceased did not die instantly. Essentially, survivors sue for what the deceased person could have, if the deceased had survived. For instance, lost wages and medical expenses are often a part of these suits. Since these are less common actions, you’re probably wondering how to bring one about. Can an heir bring a survival action? Here is what you need to know.
Immediate Family as Plaintiffs
Often, in a survival action, the immediate family serves as the plaintiffs. Any heir to the deceased can file a survival action. In addition to heirs, a representative of the estate may stand in for the deceased. Now, keep in mind that only one legal action may be filed with the court. This means that if there are multiple heirs, they are all going to have to be a part of the same action.
Listing Reluctant Plaintiffs
If you have a family member or if there is another heir that refuses to be party to the action, you still have to list him or her. A reluctant plaintiff can petition the court to drop them from the case. In other cases, the other survivors may have to list him or her as a reluctant plaintiff. This happens when there are more than one heir and one or more of these heirs refuses to be a part of it.
No Second Suits
The idea behind these rules is that you cannot have a repeat of the same case. No one can file for a survival action more than once. If all of the heirs are a part of a single action, then there is no room for a second lawsuit.
While wrongful death suits are common when a person loses a loved one due to someone else’s action or negligence, survival actions are also a possibility. Survival actions are specifically for those who didn’t die instantly. If your loved one had medical bills due to an injury caused by another person, lost wages or any other damages that may have been awarded had he or she survived, then you could potentially file a survival action. Sign up for a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer to discuss the ins and outs of survival actions.