A survival action, on the other hand, results in much the same damages as a personal injury claim would have, had the deceased person been able to file one for the accident. Recovery in survival actions can include the decedent’s hospital bills, physical pain and emotional suffering, property damage, lost quality of life, and lost wages relating to the fatal accident. The compensation received in a wrongful death lawsuit goes to dependents that survived the loss, such as a spouse, children, or parents. Compensation for survival actions goes directly to the decedent’s estate. The representative of the estate may then distribute it accordingly.
On top of different damages available, there are also different filing and legal processes for wrongful death lawsuits vs. survival actions in Texas. To file a wrongful death claim, a claimant must be a child, spouse, or parent of the decedent. To have grounds for a wrongful death claim, the claimant must show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the victim’s death and that the victim would have been able to file an injury claim had he/she survived. The claimant must also prove that the family suffered actual damages because of the death.
A representative of the estate is the party that brings a survival action on behalf of the decedent, not a family member. To have grounds for a survival action, the claimant must show that the deceased person would have been able to bring a personal injury action before he or she died, as well as show that the defendant’s wrongful act caused the death. The claimant does not, however, have to prove that he or she personally suffered damages. The damages of the decedent are enough to prove this element. There are some cases where surviving family members can recover through both types of claims in Texas. Talk to our Houston wrongful death attorneys about your options.