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The Allowable Compensation Is Different in Wrongful Death Actions and Survival Actions

One of the most traumatic experiences a person can endure is the loss of a loved one. This can be even more heartbreaking if the person died in a car accident, slip and fall accident, workplace accident, or due to medical malpractice. People may understand the general concept that they can bring a legal action against the negligent party and may have heard of survival actions and wrongful death actions. What is the difference between survival actions and wrongful death actions?

Key Differences Between Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Actions

Both survival actions and wrongful death actions are created by state statutes. Key differences between these types of lawsuits include:

  • Wrongful death actions allow the deceased person’s estate to bring a wrongful death action to award damages for the beneficiaries of the deceased person—the family members who suffered mostly a financial loss due to the deceased person’s death.
  • In wrongful death actions, non-economic losses can include compensation for the loss of the care, comfort, society, and consortium (deprivation of the family relationship) of the deceased person. Pain and suffering damages that the deceased person may have suffered cannot be recovered.
  • In survival actions, the estate is awarded damages that the deceased person would have received if he had not died, for example lost wages until his death.
  • In survival actions, the estate can be awarded non-economic losses for the deceased person’s pain and suffering until his death. However, the family is not awarded non-economic losses like in a wrongful death case.

In Idaho, a person can only file a wrongful death action. The statute allows the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate or the deceased person’s heirs, such as the spouse, child, stepchildren, or parents, to bring the wrongful death action. In addition to non-economic damages, they could be entitled to compensation for the deceased person’s medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of financial support for those family members who were dependent on the deceased, and loss of the reasonable household services that the deceased person provided.

If you have lost a family member and believe you may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to not miss the statute of limitations to file your case. I have been helping families just like you for over 31 years. Fill out an online form to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options and how I can help you through these difficult times.