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What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and Survival Action?


Losing anyone is hard, especially when it is due to the negligence of another. It is important to understand the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed after a devastating accident. Wrongful death can occur in many different accidents, not just fatal car crashes.

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim can be brought against an individual who can be held liable for someone’s death due to negligence, intentional act, or recklessness. This type of claim is brought for the benefit of that person’s beneficiaries. This can include the person’s spouse, children, or other family members. A lot of the time, these benefits can help compensate for damages.

Many families face the burden of medical expenses after the death of a loved one. Common medical expenses include those related to the death itself such as funeral expenses, burial cost, and the estate administration. The expenses can also include compensation to children for their loss.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Depending on the situation of your case, the representative of the state will file the lawsuit. This is likely the closest family member of the person who died, such as a spouse, child, or closely related family member, but it may vary. The family of the deceased person typically elects who the representative will be. If there is any dispute among the family members of who the representative should be, it can be resolved in court.

Survival Actions

Survival actions are different from wrongful death claims in that they are not brought by family members on behalf of the individual. It is instead an action to compensate the person who died. Survival action is centered around the suffering of the individual and seeks to compensate them for their suffering. Damages can include pain and suffering, loss of wages that could have been earned in the person’s lifetime, and loss of income from suffering to the point of death.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

For wrongful death claims and survival claims, the statute of limitations is two years in the state of Georgia. Every state has their own laws regarding time limits, so it is important to find out the requirements in your state so you can bring your case in a timely manner. If you miss the time window, you may not be able to file your claim.

Wrongful death of a family member or a loved one is something that no one should have to experience. If you need to hold someone accountable for the death, a wrongful death lawyer can help you fight for the compensation that you deserve.


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