When someone else’s negligence causes your loved one’s death, your first thought may be a wrongful death suit. However, Ohio law actually gives you two options in this case. Below, we will detail the differences of survival action vs. wrongful death claims.
What is a survival action and how does it differ from a wrongful death suit?
Both wrongful death suits and survival actions are types of legal actions filed by a personal representative after a death. The compensation available through these two types of lawsuits, however, covers different injuries and may have different beneficiaries.
Under Ohio wrongful death laws, a personal representative files a claim in order to recover compensation for the damages the deceased’s family suffered due to the death of their loved one.
In a survival action, a personal representative of the estate will file the suit on behalf of the deceased to cover expenses and pain and suffering before death.
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How do damages distributed in a survival action compare to those in a wrongful death case?
Compensation available from a wrongful death suit includes a range of damages suffered by the family of the deceased, such as:
- Loss of loved one’s income
- Loss of potential retirement/inheritance
- Loss of companionship and guidance
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Economic losses such as funeral expenses
The court awards these damages to the filing party based the relationship to the deceased, and the age of the party. For example, spouse or minor child typically receives more than an adult child.
Note: Ohio law limits distribution to the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. The state will distribute the damages
A survival action, meanwhile, focuses on the injuries, pain, and suffering sustained by the deceased during his or her life. If your loved one required extensive medical care or suffered greatly after his injury but before death, these damages may be exponentially higher than those in a wrongful death claim. Possible survival action damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
While surviving family members also file this type of suit, the estate of the deceased receives any awarded compensation. The court determines the amount awarded, after which distribution occurs according to the deceased party’s will or other estate plans. This means, in some cases, the party who files the claim receives none or only part of the compensation.
How can Bressman Law help?
The wrongful death lawyers at Bressman Law help families who lost loved ones due to the negligence of another party. We negotiate with insurance companies and file lawsuits in order to gain compensation for our clients. Experienced in both wrongful death suits and survival actions, we will work with you to determine the best route for your family.