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Personal Injury and SSDI Attorneys

What’s the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Action and a Survival Action?

  • August 23, 2016
  • Shawn Byrne
  • Comments Off on What’s the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Action and a Survival Action?

Losing a loved one is never easy. That difficulty can be compounded if the death was the result of another’s negligence. In such cases, surviving family members may be eligible to pursue legal action on behalf of their loved one. However, knowing what kind of legal action to take can be confusing.

All states provide a legal process by which compensation can be recovered for the wrongful death of a loved one. The process may involve one or two separate types of claims, or a combination of both. Knowing the difference between these types of claims can help you help your family when tragedy strikes.

What is a Wrongful Death Action?

The first type of claim is called a “wrongful death” claim. In a wrongful death action, a lawsuit is brought forth on behalf of the surviving family members of person who has died.  Although there is no amount of compensation that could alleviate the pain of losing a loved one, the law allows surviving family members to receive financial compensation for the losses they have suffered due to the death of their loved one. These losses include funeral expenses, medical expenses, loss of financial and emotional support, and mental anguish.

What is a Survival Action?

A survival action is a type of lawsuit that allows the estate of the deceased to sue for damages suffered before he or she died. In a survival action, the estate of the deceased is allowed to recover compensation for the decedent’s medical expenses, economic loss, and conscious pain and suffering from the time of the injury until the person’s death.

What’s the Difference?

Although wrongful death and survival actions may seem somewhat similar, damages are recovered differently. Damages recovered as a result of a survival action, such as pain and suffering and loss of earnings, go to the estate of the deceased person and not to the family members. Likewise, family members are not able to recover damages for their own personal losses in the case of a survival action.

Which One is Right for Me?

Deciding which claim to pursue after the death of a loved one can be confusing. An experienced Little Rock, AR wrongful death attorney can help guide a family through the decision-making process and the often complex legal procedures involved.


Thanks to our friends and blog authors at Johnson Vines Attorneys for their insight into wrongful death and survival actions.