Wrongful Death Suit Or Survival Suit: Which Is Best For You?

Posted on: 24 November 2014

When a family member gets injured by someone through no fault of their own, they are able to file a personal injury suit against that person. A personal injury suit lets your family member get money for things like their pain and suffering, as well as any medical costs. If your loved one dies due to someone else's actions, you can file a wrongful death case. That means that you can seek damages against that person. There is another kind of suit you can file if your family member dies. That's called a survival suit. 

Wrongful Death vs. Survival

While both of these suits can be filed after the death of a family member, there are some differences between them. Some states will allow you to file both kinds of suits at the same time; however, you generally aren't allowed to recover damages from both suits. You will have to decide which one you want to follow through with. 

Wrongful Death Suits

With a wrongful death suit you are able to seek certain kinds of damages. The laws do vary from state to state, but they do break down into three basic kinds. They are punitive damages, non-economic damages, and economic damages. 

  • Punitive damages: These are used as a punishment. If the other party in the suit did something heinous or egregious, then you may be able to get a bigger settlement. If you have an attorney, such as someone from Bangel, Bangel, & Bangel, helping you, they can tell you if your suit qualifies for these damages. They will also tell you how much more you may recover. 
  • Non-economic damages: These are hard to quantify. They include things like loss of consortium, if it was your spouse who died. Your pain and suffering may also be taken into account. Generally the judge will come up with the amount of these damages that you can be awarded. 
  • Economic damages: Of all the damages, these are the easiest to prove and the easiest to quantify. That's because these damages include things like loss of future income, loss of benefits, and any medical and funeral costs. 

Survival Suits

A survival suit lets you take over a personal injury case that your loved one may have filed after their injury. If your loved one has died because of their injuries, the survival suit keeps the personal injury suit from dying, and lets you recover their damages. Because your loved one would have started the suit, you are also able to seek damages because of their pain and suffering, not just because of yours. 

One big difference is that any settlement doesn't go to you. In a wrongful death suit, you are the one bringing it. In a survival suit, it is technically the estate of your loved one who brings the suit. That means that any settlement goes into the estate, and then is disbursed that way. 

The loss of a loved one can be devastating. It's even worse if your family member died because of the actions of another person. A wrongful death or survival suit can help get you some of the things that you are entitled to.