Wrongful death actions arise from a personal injury that turns fatal. For example, when a car accident victim sustains severe injuries due to an at-fault driver’s negligence, that’s personal injury. However, if the victim dies, a wrongful death claim arises. For such situations, an Augusta personal injury attorney who handles wrongful death claims can help.
Apart from wrongful death, there’s another legal action you can take when your loved one dies due to someone’s negligence. It’s called the survival action. Deciding whether to file a wrongful death claim or a survival action depends on numerous factors. They include the type of damages you’re seeking, whether there was an ongoing claim before the victim died, etc.
Making the right decision after your loved one’s death means understanding what wrongful death and survival actions are about. So, in this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about survival actions and wrongful death in Augusta. We’ll also focus on the difference in damages between both courses of action.
What Are Survival Actions?
When someone sustains an injury, they can file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. Many times, they are still nursing their injuries as they do so. If they fully heal, they will get compensation for their injuries and settle their claims.
If they die before their claims settle, their relations may take over the claims process on their behalf. Under Georgia laws, such a takeover is called a survival action. It simply means that the deceased’s personal injury claims outlive them and don’t end when they die. In such actions, the deceased’s estate asks for the victim’s compensation as though they were alive.
To file a survival action, you must prove that:
- The deceased suffered a personal injury before their death
- The victim already filed a personal injury action before they died
- You’re a personal representative of the decedent
- The defendant caused the deceased’s injury
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Personal injury victims deal with lots of discomforts from traumatic brain injuries to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, etc. However, they do not suffer alone. Their spouses may have to sacrifice intimate moments to support them as they recuperate. Their children may have to put up with a lack of finances while they heal.
If the victim dies, their personal representatives can seek compensation for the pain and sacrifices they have to endure. They may also seek damages to cover the decedent’s funeral expenses or burial costs. They’ll do those via a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
The following are the elements to prove in a wrongful death case:
- Your legal capacity to file the lawsuit. That is, you must be the deceased’s spouse, child, parent, or estate representative.
- The defendant’s negligence caused the injuries that resulted in the deceased’s death.
- The decedent would have been able to file a personal injury claim, but for the death.
- You suffered some form of injury as a result of the death
In summary, a survival action seeks damages for the deceased’s injury. On the other hand, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the pain, suffering, and injury the death caused.
What Are the Differences in Damages Between Both Types of Actions?
One of the major differences between a wrongful death case and a survival action is the compensatory awards. In a survival action, the deceased’s estate gets the following damages:
- Medical expenses. This compensates for the costs of treating the victim.
- Lost wages
- Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc
In a wrongful death claim, the compensation includes the following:
- Loss of income that the deceased’s beneficiaries would have enjoyed
- Lost benefits like education and retirement benefits
- Non-economic damages like loss of consortium, loss of support, pain, and suffering, loss of companionship, etc
- Compensation for funeral costs or burial expenses
Let’s Review Your Case For Free Today!
If your family member or loved one survived an accident due to negligence, they can file personal injury claims. However, in the unfortunate event that they die, you may need to continue the claim via a survival action. Alternatively, or conjunctively, you can also file a wrongful death claim. Our wrongful death attorneys can help you make the best decision.
Consulting with our wrongful death lawyers at Ted A. Greve and Associates means enjoying the best legal services in Augusta. We guarantee you 100% satisfaction and a stress-free claims process beyond your imaginations. We also offer free virtual consultations for your convenience. So schedule an appointment with us today.