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The Difference Between a Wrongful Death Case and a Survival Claim in Texas?

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Wrongful Death Case and a Survival Claim in Texas

Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, and it can be even more difficult when their death is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. In Texas, two types of legal claims can be pursued during a fatal accident: a wrongful death case and a survival claim. While these terms may sound similar, they are different and have distinct purposes. This article will explore the difference between a wrongful death case and a survival claim in Texas.

What is a Wrongful Death Case?

Definition and Purpose

A wrongful death case is a civil lawsuit brought by the surviving family members of a person who has died due to another party’s negligence or wrongful act. Getting a wrongful death lawyer in Texas is recommended. The purpose of a wrongful death case is to seek compensation for the losses and damages that the surviving family members have suffered due to their loved one’s death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?

Only certain family members in Texas can file a wrongful death case. These include the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, children, or parents, then the executor or administrator of their estate can file the case on behalf of their estate.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case?

The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case are meant to compensate the surviving family members for their losses and damages. These damages may include:

  • Loss of financial support and benefits that the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of companionship, love, and guidance
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness.

What is a Survival Claim?

Definition and Purpose

A survival claim is also a civil lawsuit that the estate of a deceased person brings. However, the purpose of a survival claim is different from that of a wrongful death case. A survival claim seeks to recover damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived the accident or injury that caused their death.

Who Can File a Survival Claim?

In Texas, a survival claim can only be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate. This is because the damages recovered in a survival claim are meant to benefit the estate rather than the surviving family members.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Survival Claim?

The damages that can be recovered in a survival claim are meant to compensate the estate for the losses and damages the deceased person suffered before their death. These damages may include:

  • Pain and suffering that the deceased person experienced before their death
  • Medical expenses incurred before their death
  • Lost wages or earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Punitive damages if the death was caused by a willful act or omission or by gross negligence

Key Differences Between a Wrongful Death Case and a Survival Claim

While both a wrongful death case and a survival claim are civil lawsuits brought after a person’s death, the two have several key differences.

Purpose

Their purpose is the main difference between a wrongful death case and a survival claim. A wrongful death case compensates the surviving family members for their losses and damages. In contrast, a survival claim is meant to compensate the estate for the losses and damages the deceased person suffered before their death. These are the key differences in wrongful death or survival cases.

Who Can File the Claim

As mentioned earlier, only certain family members can file a wrongful death case. In contrast, only the executor or administrator of the estate can file a survival claim. Get an experienced lawyer to help you file a wrongful death case in Texas.

Damages Recovered

The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case differ from those that can be recovered in a survival claim. In a wrongful death case, the damages are meant to compensate the surviving family members for their losses and damages. In contrast, in a survival claim, the damages are meant to compensate the estate for the losses and damages the deceased person suffered before their death.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations, or the time limit for filing a claim, is also different for a wrongful death case and a survival claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years from the date of the person’s death, while the statute of limitations for a survival claim is two years from the date of the person’s injury or illness that led to their death.

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases and Survival Claims

Wrongful Death Case Example

John and his wife Sarah were driving home from a family vacation when a drunk driver hit them. Sarah was killed instantly, and John suffered severe injuries. John and Sarah’s parents filed a wrongful death case against the drunk driver, seeking compensation for the loss of their wife and daughter and the emotional distress they have suffered. John also filed a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver for his injuries.

Survival Claim Example

Mark was working on a construction site when he fell from a ladder and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was in a coma for several weeks before passing away. Mark’s estate filed a survival claim against the construction company, seeking compensation for his medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering before his death. Mark’s parents also made a wrongful death claim for the loss of their son.

Conclusion

In Texas, a wrongful death case and a survival claim are two distinct legal claims that can be pursued in the event of a fatal accident. While both seek to compensate for the losses and damages suffered by the deceased person and their loved ones, they have different purposes: who can file the claim and what damages can be recovered. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, it is important to understand the difference between these claims and seek the appropriate legal action.

Get Help From an Expert Wrongful Death Law Firm in Houston

Contact Baumgartner Law Firm in Houston for a free case evaluation and to learn your rights and options from a top Houston wrongful death lawyer.

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069

(281) 587-1111

 

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