When a loved one dies due to the negligent actions of another, the aftermath is often filled with grief, stress and worry. Not only have you lost someone you can never replace but there are financial responsibilities and the memory of your family member’s pain and suffering to contend with. If you decide to file a lawsuit connected with the accident that took your loved one from you, understanding the difference between a survival action and a wrongful death lawsuit may be useful.
During a survival action, the details of the accident are reviewed and tend to revolve more around the deceased person rather than you and other family members who might have been affected by the accident. The court may consider a variety of factors before they award a judgment to your loved one’s estate, including:
- The total of his or her medical bills
- The individual’s pain and suffering
- Lost wages
If the court awards a judgment, the proceeds typically go to the deceased’s estate instead of his or her immediate family members.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When your loved one does not survive injuries caused by a negligent accident, you have the right to legally pursue those responsible. For example, if a motorist struck your family member in a crosswalk because he or she was texting and not paying attention to the road, you can usually sue that person for wrongful death. You can include a variety of damages in this type of lawsuit, including punitive damages, lost wages and loss of companionship if the deceased person was your spouse.
Choosing Which To File
In a survival action, the executor or executrix of the deceased’s estate is responsible for filing. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one was your spouse, child or another close family member. You can also file as a representative of the decedent’s financial dependents, such as minor children. You can ask your attorney which action is the most appropriate for your individual situation.
Damage Award Factors
In a survival action, the span of time between the time of injury and death can affect what the estate might recover. For example, if the deceased died within 24-48 hours of a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the claim may include pain and suffering but not lost wages, since the period of survival was relatively brief.
When a loved one dies in an accident, knowing how to move forward with legal can be difficult, but you do not have to endure the process alone. Contact a wrongful death lawyer in Memphis, TN, like Patterson Bray, today for further assistance and information.