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Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action

When a family loses a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, they can be burdened with not only sadness but also significant and unexpected financial burdens. When a loved one dies, a significant source of income is gone, hospital expenses begin to stack up, and there are burial expenditures to fulfill. What legal options do families have in the wake of such a tragic event?

Wrongful death claims and survival actions are two possibilities accessible to surviving families under Oregon law. Both provide a method for recovering damages from the individual responsible for a victim’s death, but they vary in crucial respects. 

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim revolves around the departed individual’s family and permits surviving family members or a representative to initiate a civil claim for damages. Damages may include the family’s pain and suffering (loss of companionship of the loved one), existing and expected earnings lost due to their deceased family member, burial expenditures, and pending hospital expenses related to the victim’s injuries.

What is a Survival Action?

A survival action, on the other hand, is focused on the departed individual’s —  frequently referred to as the “decedent” — monetary losses and pain and suffering prior to death as opposed to the family’s monetary losses and grief caused by the death. 

In a survival action, the decedent’s estate may obtain damages for the victim’s misery and anguish prior to death as well as the decedent’s hospital expenses and lost wages, which is similar to what the individual might have obtained in a personal injury claim if they had lived. Instead of being distributed straight to surviving relatives based upon the wrongful death statute, damages in a survival action are distributed through the departed individual’s estate.

Who Can File a Survival Action or Wrongful Death Claim?

The region determines who can file a survival action or a wrongful death claim. Generally, a survival action is filed by the administrator of the deceased’s estate. Potential claimants (the individuals who have a right to receive damages paid) in a wrongful death claim comprise the departed individual’s surviving spouse, surviving children, surviving parents, surviving stepchild or stepparent, and potential heirs by intestate succession.

Complainants in survival or wrongful death claims must demonstrate that the defendant was responsible for the deceased’s death. In legal terms, this implies they must show that the death resulted from reckless, negligent, or careless behavior on the part of somebody who owed a “duty of care” to the decedent. Duty of care is a legal notion that signifies a person must use reasonable care when conducting actions, which may cause harm to another person.

Contact Youd Law Firm

No amount of money will compensate for the loss of a beloved one.  Nonetheless, filing a wrongful death claim or survival action claim could assist in bringing some peace and economic security that can be lost when a loved one dies. 

If somebody else’s negligence caused your tragic loss, Youd Law is here to fight for you and your family. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced Salem Personal Injury Lawyer, or fill out the online contact form to discuss your case.

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