Wrongful Death / Survival Claims
A wrongful death claim arises when an individual dies as a result of the wrongful actions of another person. The family members (spouse, parents, siblings, children) of the person who died can bring this claim. The claim centers on the loss of love, companionship and affection that the family members have suffered as a result of the death of their loved one. For example, pretend that your father died in a car accident that was not his fault. He left behind your mother, your brother and your sister. All of the family members can bring a claim against the at-fault driver for their loss of love, companionship and affection.
In addition, the estate may be able to also bring a survival action arising out of the death of the loved one, for which recovery is sought “for” and on behalf of the deceased individual. For example, pretend that your father died in a car accident that was not his fault. The evidence shows that he lived for an hour before ultimately passing away. Technically, your dad has a claim for pain and suffering, and potentially medical expenses, for the brief period of time that he was alive. Because he has died, he cannot bring the claim in his own name. Instead, the family can open an estate an appoint an Administrator. That person can bring a claim on behalf your father’s estate for the injuries and damages he sustained while he was still alive.