There's nothing as unimaginably painful as the death of a loved one because another person or company has made a poor, thoughtless, and negligent choice. There's nothing that can take that pain away or bring your loved one back - but there are steps you can take to ensure the responsible party is held accountable. When a spouse, parent, or child dies in an accident caused by the negligence of another, you may be able to bring a claim against the responsible party in the form of a survival action, wrongful death claim, or both. We explain the differences here.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is an action against the responsible party for their part in negligently causing the death of your loved one. In Texas, this claim may be brought forward by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. If it is proven in court that the defendant had a duty to not cause harm, that the duty was breached, and the breach caused the death of your loved one, you may be able to collect damages. In a wrongful death claim, damages are paid directly to the plaintiff and may include the following:
- Your deceased loved one's lost wages that you relied on;
- Medical expenses incurred by your deceased loved one; and
- Your emotional suffering.
What is a Survival Action?
A survival action is a different cause of action from a wrongful death claim. In short, a survival action is a claim for the time period that your deceased survived before their death. It most often applies in situations where the victim lives for a period of time following the incident, but eventually passes away as a result of the injuries they sustained. A survival action may be filed by the deceased's estate or heirs and is not limited to a spouse, parent, or child. The damages are for what the deceased went through before their death. This includes compensation for:
- Medical bills;
- Pain and suffering of the deceased;
- Wages lost between the accident and the death;
- Property damage; and
- Funeral expenses.
When are both available?
In certain cases, plaintiffs may be able to bring both a wrongful death claim and a survival action. An attorney and team who has experience in wrongful death and survival action cases can assist you in determining whether this situation fits your case.
Choose a Firm That Puts Family First
'Family' is one of the Button Law Firm's Core Values. We understand how life-altering and heartbreaking it is to lose a family member. Ultimately, our goal is to bring you and your family as close to closure as possible while making sure that what happened to your loved one does not happen to anyone else, ever again.
Reach out to us when you are ready to find a compassionate team who is here to help you learn more about your options and find the best course of action for you and your family.