Generally, there are two possible outcomes to a personal injury claim. Either the injured person settles a claim with an insurance company while he or she is alive or the injured person dies before a claim is settled. When a person dies before settling a personal injury claim, there are two possible claims that may be brought against the responsible party:
- Wrongful Death Claim
- Survival Action.
Wrongful Death ClaimsUsually, loved ones are emotionally distraught and the last thing people want to do is deal with the complexity of a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are complicated because the party who brings the claim must prove that the death was caused by the other party. For this reason, it is often important to conduct a complete investigation, often including an autopsy, in order to prove that the other party caused this person’s death. A wrongful death settlement can often be greatly affected by actions which are taken immediately after a person passes away. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to guide you through this difficult time and help you recover the maximum financial compensation given the circumstances.
Survival ActionsUnlike a wrongful death claim, survival actions do not have to prove that the death was caused by the responsible party. As a result, the deceased person’s family is limited to recovering losses that occurred before he or she died in a survival action. This includes any punitive damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to recover. Anyone pursuing the survival action can recover money for the following damages:
- Medical expenses and care incurred before death
- Bills from ambulance services
- Loss of earning capacity from date of injury to the date of death
- Any other punitive damages (money awarded to an injured person to punish the responsible party for their conduct) the deceased would have been entitled to had they lived