If someone you love has experienced a severe personal injury caused by another’s negligence, they may have filed a personal injury case against the person or entity at fault. If your loved one passes on due to the personal injury, then you may have a case for a wrongful death suit. However, making the shift from one case to the other does depend on a few key points.
Survival Statute and Survival Action
Some states abide by survival statutes that apply to situations like the hypothetical scenario above. Two points matter:
- The personal injury claim must have begun before the death of the victim.
- The surviving family members of the victim may also file a separate wrongful death claim in addition to the personal injury claim.
The victim’s claim against a defendant even after death gets passed on under a survival statute. This allows surviving dependents or the deceased’s estate to proceed with a personal injury claim against the defendant until it is completed. A survival action grants damages won in a case to the surviving family instead of the victim due to the victim’s passing. Survivors may also file a wrongful death claim to compensate for other damages not covered in a personal injury claim.
Making the Shift
Some places automatically make the shift from personal injury to wrongful death suit if the victim passes due to the injuries they sustained. The reason for filing a wrongful death claim is primarily to take care of the surviving family financially. A family can file an additional wrongful death suit to win compensation that was not provided in the previous personal injury lawsuit.
Compensation they may be able to win in a wrongful death case include:
- Compensation for lost wages, future earnings and other benefits that would have been collected should the victim have lived.
- Medical bills and treatment expenses.
- Funeral costs.
Common Instances of the Shift
- Injuries from a construction accident.
- Automotive accidents
- Negligence or malpractice at the hands of medical professionals.
- Accidents from a private plane crash.
- Dog attacks.
When a victim passes on before the settlement of a personal injury claim, an immediate family member can continue the case on the deceased’s behalf. A personal injury attorney can assist that person in a personal injury case and can further assist should the family decide to file a wrongful death suit in addition to the personal injury claim. Consult an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer relies on, immediately to ensure that your family has the best chance at being awarded damages for the tragedy they have endured.