When your spouse or close family member dies in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be aware of survival actions. A survival action is a kind of lawsuit that a family can bring in the aftermath of someone’s death to help secure compensation for the decedent’s loss. A survival action is not the same as a wrongful death action, and an experienced attorney can explain the different kinds of lawsuits and theories.
An Austin survival actions lawyer can provide information on which type of lawsuit might be appropriate in your situation.
When someone dies because of the negligence of another, the decedent’s right to sue in civil court does not die with them. Under Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code § 71.021, the decedent’s injury claim survives their death and allows their heir to prosecute the surviving claim on their behalf.
This kind of lawsuit can be an important part of getting justice for the victim–especially when they endured pain and suffering in between being injured and dying–and a survival actions lawyer in Austin can assist in preparing this claim.
Survival action damages include the decedent’s pain and suffering, medical bills, property damage, and burial expenses. Survival damages become part of the decedent’s estate and are distributed according to their will if they have one or, if not, according to the rules of intestate succession.
Survival actions can sometimes be confused with wrongful death lawsuits, as they are often filed together and arise from the same situation. They have different legal theories, and a survival actions attorney in Austin might suggest filing one or both kinds of lawsuits, depending on the circumstances. The key difference is that a survival action is on behalf of the decedent, and a wrongful death action is on behalf of members of the decedent’s family.
For example, a man is hit on his way home from work by a truck operated by a sleep-deprived driver. The man suffers organ damage but survives for a few weeks in intensive care before succumbing to his injuries. His wife can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver (and possibly others) to get compensation for her losses.
Moreover, as long as she is his heir or executor, she could file a survival action on his behalf. Through the survival of his personal injury action, his estate can recover compensation for his pain, suffering, and other losses he sustained before death.
The statute of limitations for a survival action is the same as for other injury cases, generally two years from the date of injury. However, the filing period is halted for 12 months after a person dies unless an executor qualifies earlier than that.
Anyone considering bringing a survival action should consult with a lawyer who understands the nuances of the statute of limitations in Austin court cases because failing to comply with the statute of limitations can bar recovery.
A survival action can be an important part of your quest for accountability following the death of your loved one. When your loved one would have had a personal injury action and been entitled to pain and suffering and other damages but could not see the case through because they died, you might be able to bring the case for them and fight for justice on their behalf.
An Austin survival actions lawyer can provide you with the guidance you need to seek redress for your loved one as well as for yourself. Call for a consultation about your case.