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Wrongful Death and Survival Actions: What Should You Know?

Losing a loved one in an accident in Georgia is devastating no matter what the circumstances involved, and it can be difficult to think about spending time on a lawsuit when you are grieving and dealing with this physical and emotional loss. Yet it can also be critical to seek compensation for your loved one’s medical bills and lost wages and to hold the liable party accountable for the harm their actions (or inactions) have caused. You might know that there are lawsuits known as personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits, and you might have heard of survival action. How do these claims differ from one another, and what type of lawsuit should you plan to discuss with an Atlanta wrongful death attorney? Our firm has information to help.

Wrongful Death Law and Personal Injury Law Are Related, But Claims Are Distinct from One Another

While wrongful death law in Georgia and personal injury law are related, it is important to understand that these types of claims would not both be filed in relation to a person’s injuries in an accident, and the party planning to file a lawsuit would not be choosing between a wrongful death claim and a personal injury lawsuit. Rather, personal injury lawsuits are for cases in which an injured plaintiff has survived his or her injuries and will be the person who files the lawsuit, while wrongful death lawsuits are for cases in which a person has died as a result of injuries, and a surviving family member of the deceased is the person who files the lawsuit.

To be clear, personal injury lawsuits are filed when the injured person survives his or her injuries, while a wrongful death lawsuit is filed when the injured person does not survive his or her injuries. How do these claims relate to something known as a “survival action” under Georgia law?

Understanding Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

When a person dies from injuries sustained in an accident or as a result of another party’s intentional wrongdoing, the family of the deceased can seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. What, then, is a survival action?

Survival actions are also filed when a person dies from his or her injuries, but these types of claims are, in effect, personal injury claims that survive the deceased. These types of lawsuits can be filed in situations where the deceased sustained serious injuries from which she or he ultimately died, but those injuries resulted in losses that would have given rise to a personal injury claim. To clarify with an example, survival actions can be appropriate in circumstances where a person sustains injuries in an accident and then survives for an amount of time before succumbing to those injuries. In that period between the accident and death, the injured person is likely hospitalized and is accruing medical bills, and has lost wages as a result of his or her inability to work. A survival action allows a representative of the deceased’s estate to file a survival action for these losses.

Wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions can be filed concurrently.

Contact an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer

Do you have questions about wrongful death claims and survival actions? One of our experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorneys can speak with you today. Contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys online or call us at (404) 529-3476 for more information.