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Differences Between Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

Most people are familiar with the concept that, if someone dies because of a personal injury, a wrongful death attorney In Boston MA can bring a lawsuit. Some have also heard of legal cases called survival actions, but many do not know the difference between the two types of cases. Survival actions and wrongful death cases are both governed by state laws; before these laws were implemented, a person’s injury claim died with them. This article explains the differences between survival actions and wrongful death cases.

What is the Difference Between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death Case?

Two major differences exist between these types of cases. Firstly, a wrongful death statute allows a person’s estate to file suit, and it sets forth legal procedures for doing so. Without these laws, suits could not occur. Secondly, wrongful death and survival laws allow different kinds of damages to be awarded based on a person’s death.

Wrongful death statutes allow a person’s estate to receive damages for the decedent’s beneficiaries, or those who incurred financial losses due to the death. Survival laws allow the estate to receive damages that the decedent could have recovered had they survived, such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

Wrongful Death Claims

Because these lawsuits are covered by state laws, procedures can vary by jurisdiction. However, there are several issues common to all jurisdictions, such as:

  • Who may file suit on behalf of the estate
  • How a person can represent the decedent’s estate
  • Which damages can be awarded

Who May File a Suit on Behalf of a Decedent?

An estate representative can file a wrongful death suit; representatives are usually relatives such as parents, children or spouses. In cases where family members cannot agree on the appointment of a representative, the courts will step in and resolve the dispute.

Damages in Survival Actions

Survival laws allow a decedent’s estate to receive damages incurred from when the injury occurred until the person passed away. Survival damages can include those for pain and suffering, as well as earnings lost until the time of death. However, if a person died instantly in an accident, a wrongful death attorney In Boston MA could help the estate get pain and suffering damages, but none for lost earnings. Those who have lost family members in wrongful death cases should hire an attorney because they PAY NO FEES unless you win.

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