Families whose loved ones die because of the acts or omissions of another can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Some families could also bring a separate suit called a survival action.
A survival action differs from a wrongful death action because it seeks the compensation the deceased person would have been entitled to pursue if they had lived. Families often bring wrongful death and survival actions at the same time, but there are differences between the two suits.
When your loved one dies and another bears some responsibility for the death, consult a Temple survival action lawyer right away. An experienced legal professional can explain whether a survival action is viable in your case. If so, they can help you prepare the claim, negotiate with the responsible parties’ insurance companies, and, if necessary, bring them to court.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.021(b) describes survival actions. In essence, a survival action is an injury lawsuit against the person who caused a loved one’s fatal injuries. A survival action allows the injured person’s estate to hold the responsible parties accountable because the person died and cannot bring a lawsuit.
An important aspect of a survival action is that the person must have lived for some time after the injury to suffer damages that could be collected through a survival lawsuit. If they died instantly, they did not experience financial losses due to their injuries. The damages the estate could collect through a survival action include:
When the deceased person’s estate paid for their funeral expenses, the estate could seek reimbursement of those expenses in the survival action.
Families who know or believe their loved one survived for a period before succumbing to their injuries should consult an attorney in Temple to bring an action. In such cases, a survival action can provide significant funds to the deceased person’s estate.
Families often pursue survival actions along with wrongful death actions, but there are significant differences between the two. Understanding these differences is critical to seeking compensation. A Temple lawyer could explain how they might impact a specific survival action.
The deceased person’s estate must bring a survival action. A court appoints someone to gather the deceased person’s assets, pay their debts, and distribute any money or property left over to the decedent’s heirs. This person is the personal representative or executor, and they represent the estate in the survival lawsuit. They might be a family member, but need not be.
Family members usually bring a wrongful death action, although an executor or personal representative could do so in certain circumstances.
Proceeds from a survival action go to the deceased person’s estate. When the decedent has debts, the money could be used to pay the debts. Like other assets in the estate, any remainder after the debts are satisfied is distributed to the deceased person’s heirs.
The money the family receives in a wrongful death action goes directly to the family members. The decedent’s creditors have no right to the money.
The estate must file a survival lawsuit within two years of the incident that caused the deceased person’s fatal injuries. However, the clock stops running between the date of death and when the court appoints a personal representative or executor. The legal expression for this is “tolling,” and the statute of limitations could toll for up to one year.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death action expires two years from the date of death. Although there are some exceptions, they are limited and not usually applicable.
When someone dies, the legal claims they had against others survive. When another’s reckless, negligent, or criminal actions resulted in someone’s death, their estate could pursue the claim.
These lawsuits can be complicated, and working with an experienced Temple survival action lawyer is critical. Speak with an experienced attorney about your case today.