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

In California, one could potentially file two different types of lawsuits after the death of a relative: a wrongful death claim and a survival action. Family members of the deceased person (decedent) could be eligible for compensation in a wrongful death claim. The decedent’s estate could also be eligible for an award, but this will take a survival action. Securing compensation from an at-fault party takes filing the correct type of legal action according to the situation.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death lawsuit is on behalf of the family. It aims to reimburse surviving family members for their specific losses. Certain family members in California have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits: spouses, domestic partners, children, or anyone who can prove a financial dependence on the decedent. Wrongful death lawsuits can provide compensation to survivors.

  • Mental anguish
  • The family’s pain and suffering
  • Grief
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Any medical costs the family paid
  • Current and future lost income
  • Loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, and care
  • Loss of parental guidance over children
  • Loss of consortium for spouses

The plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit will be a surviving family member or loved one, filing on behalf of all dependent survivors. If the plaintiff wins the case, he or she will disperse the compensation award among applicable survivors. Wrongful death actions seek to compensate the family members of a deceased victim of negligence. Contact our Irvine wrongful death attorneys to

What Is a Survival Claim?

A survival action is legal recourse the decedent’s estate may seek to make up for the victim’s individual losses. Rather than compensating the survivors, this type of action compensates the victim by giving money directly to his or her estate. A survival action seeks similar types of compensation the victim might have been able to earn had the accident not been fatal.

  • The victim’s pain and suffering
  • Outstanding medical bills
  • Lost wages or earning capacity
  • Property damage costs
  • Lost quality of life

Survival laws in California permit an estate to receive damages the deceased person could have recovered had he or she survived the accident. A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, reimburses the family for their losses. A personal representative of the estate can bring a survival action on behalf of the decedent’s estate. The decedent may have named a representative in a will or estate plan. If not, the courts will select someone during probate. Most often, the representative will be a surviving spouse or someone else to represent the estate’s best interests.

Which Type of Claim Should I File?

If you recently lost a loved one in an unexpected accident in Orange County, speak to a Irvine wrongful death attorney near you. A wrongful death attorney can review the facts of the death and let you know if you and your family have the right to a wrongful death and/or survival action. Many cases allow surviving parties to file both types of claims. The damages you could receive depend on the facts of the case and your specific losses. A successful cause of action could help your family and the estate repay debts, afford a funeral, and move forward after a tragic loss.

The attorneys at Bentley & More remain committed to exceptional client service during the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact us today remotely.