Many people are familiar with a wrongful death action, a lawsuit filed on behalf of the surviving family members. However, many more people are unfamiliar with the survival action, filed on behalf of the decedent’s estate. While both legal actions sound similar, each varies, primarily concerning the retrieval and disbursement of funds.
A lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer, files a wrongful death claim to benefit the surviving relatives, meaning that any judgment goes directly to the family members. Instead, a survival action pays the decision to the decedent’s estate; it is then up to the executor to distribute the funds per the decedent’s wishes.
Damages in a Survival Action
The damages brought during a survival action are similar to those obtained in a personal injury claim. The decedent’s representative can argue for medical expenses, property losses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
When discussing lost wages, the representative will focus on the decedent’s potential earnings had they not passed away. A lawyer will look at the individual’s average work/life expectancy, arguing for an award in that amount.
Statute of Limitations
Whether you are bringing a wrongful death action or a survival action against a negligent party, you need to research the statute of limitations for your state. There is a two-year limit on claims of wrongful death for many states, regardless of who is filing. However, many jurisdictions will allow for some wiggle room in the timeline because of the complexity of the laws.
Finding a Suitable Attorney
There is often an assumption that all lawyers can argue any law, but that is not accurate. Lawyers, like any other qualified professional, have specializations. You do not want to work with a bankruptcy lawyer when you are filing a wrongful death or survival action. Instead, find an attorney focusing on civil actions, and in particular wrongful death or survival claims.
You want to take your time to find the right attorney for the job. Do not merely go with the first five-star rated lawyer you come across. Make a list of several potential lawyers and schedule consultations with each. During your interviews, assess how they treat you and how thoroughly they answer your questions or address your concerns. At the end of the meeting, ask for a list of references to verify abilities and corroborate their claims.
A survival action is different from a wrongful death claim, but it still requires a knowledgeable attorney to frame the argument in legal terms. Contact a local attorney to discuss your claim today.