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2 legal terms regarding a personal injury claim

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Personal Injury

Losing a loved one in a Missouri car accident is a devastating experience. In addition to coping emotionally, there are many issues to resolve in connection with the sudden death of a loved one. For example, you must make burial arrangements. When another person was responsible for the death, the decedent’s family might decide to pursue a personal injury claim.

Two legal terms, “survival action” and “wrongful death claim,” are relevant to personal injury law when a grieving family is seeking restitution against a party whose negligence or reckless behavior was a primary cause of a family member’s death. These two terms are similar but not interchangeable. It is important to understand the difference between them before filing a legal claim in civil court.

A successfully litigated personal injury claim results in a monetary award

There is no replacement for the loss of a human life. However, when another person’s negligence has caused your loved one’s death, state law allows you to seek financial recovery for damages if you are an immediate family member of the decedent. This process is known as a “wrongful death claim.” You must prove that the defendant’s actions and negligence caused your loved one’s death, and that he or she would probably still be alive were it not for the defendant’s actions.

A “survival action,” on the other hand, is a separate legal claim, which stems from a lawsuit that a decedent initiated before his or her death. For example, if your loved one suffers injuries in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, he or she may file a personal injury claim. If your loved one dies before resolving the case, you may choose to initiate a survival action, which allows the lawsuit your loved one started to continue.

Who receives the compensation in a survival action or wrongful death claim?

In a wrongful death claim, the immediate family member acting as the plaintiff would receive restitution ordered by the court. In a survival action, the court adds the award to the value of the decedent’s estate. In some cases, you might be able to allow a survival action while simultaneously filing a wrongful death claim. In other cases, you must choose between the two.

Litigation surrounding the death of a loved one in a Florida motor vehicle collision is emotionally difficult. Most families ask experienced personal injury law attorneys to represent them in court, which alleviates stress and helps ensure the maximum recovery allowed by law.