While both types of claims are related to someone’s untimely death, survival actions and wrongful death claims are two distinct legal concepts that address losses caused by another’s harmful actions or inactions.
They differ greatly in terms of the parties involved and the kinds of damages that are sought.
What’s a survival action?
Normally, when someone suffers injuries and other losses due to another party’s negligent, reckless or otherwise wrongful actions, the victim would naturally have the right to pursue a personal injury claim. In some states, a personal injury claim automatically ends if the victim dies. In Ohio. however, such claims survive the death of the injured person, which means that the claim can still be continued on their behalf by the personal representative of their estate.
In a survival action, the damages sought typically include compensation for the pain, suffering, medical expenses and other losses incurred by the victim between the time of the injury and their eventual death. If successful, the damages are awarded to the deceased person’s estate rather than to surviving family members directly, and distributed according to either the deceased’s will or the laws of intestate succession.
What’s a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death claims, on the other hand, are specifically intended to provide compensation to the surviving family members of someone who died due to the negligence, recklessness or intentional act of another party. These claims are also generally brought by the personal representative of the deceased, but directly on behalf of the surviving family members, such as the deceased’s spouse, children or parents.
If the claim is successful, the damages may include reasonable funeral and burial expenses and other related losses, as well as compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and financial support. The survivor’s own mental anguish over their loss can also be factored into any award.
It’s important to note that in Ohio, both survival actions and wrongful death claims can be pursued concurrently – it’s not an “either/or” situation. Because these kinds of legal issues can be complex and hard to understand, if you’re thinking about filing this kind of legal action, it’s wise to seek experienced legal assistance that can guide you through the process as you cope with your grief.