What’s the Difference Between Wrongful Death and a Survival Action?

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The death of a loved one is always heartbreaking, but it’s especially tragic when it happens as the result of another person’s negligent actions. In these cases, Illinois residents have two forms of legal recourse, both of which can be filed as part of probate proceedings for the deceased person’s estate. These are wrongful death and survival actions.

Wrongful Death Vs. Survival Actions in Illinois

These two forms of legal actions differ in terms of who is compensated for the accident and its resulting expenses. These differences are as follows:

  • Wrongful death compensates surviving individuals, such as the deceased’s spouse or children. Damages cover loss of society, economic support, grief, etc.
  • Survival actions cover damages suffered by the decedent, such as pain, suffering, and medical costs. These damages are paid into the deceased’s estate rather than directly to their loved ones.

More details on these types of lawsuits are provided below.

Illinois Wrongful Death Actions

In Illinois, wrongful death actions are personal injury lawsuits filed on behalf of a deceased person’s estate in order to compensate their surviving family. The following damages are paid to their next of kin:

  • Loss of society/loss of consortium
  • Grief and suffering
  • Past and future economic support

These damages can be significant for those who depended upon the deceased to provide emotional and economic support, such as a surviving spouse or children. As such, they are paid to the next of kin in order to help them move forward.

Illinois Survival Actions

Illinois survival actions differ from wrongful death lawsuits in that they focus on damages suffered by the deceased during the time between their accident and their death. For instance, if someone is injured in a car accident and suffered for days in the hospital before passing away, their surviving kin could sue for the pain, suffering, and medical expenses incurred during that time.

In essence, a survival action is a personal injury lawsuit made on behalf of a deceased person, and it largely consists of damages that that person would have been entitled to had they survived.

Filing Wrongful Death and Survival Claims in Illinois

In either of these cases, filing a wrongful death or survival claim in Illinois starts by talking to a personal injury attorney. They’ll review your case to determine how viable a lawsuit would be.

In order for a wrongful death or survival action to be viable, there needs to be some act of negligence involved. If the party responsible for your loved one’s death can be shown to have acted negligently, you stand a better chance of recovering damages.

The damages also need to be worth the cost of pursuing these types of lawsuits. Wrongful death claims can be highly complex, and as such, they’re typically only viable if the damages are high.

If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident caused by another’s negligence, contact an attorney as promptly as possible. At Hart David Carson LLP, we have experience with both personal injury claims and probate estates, so contact us for a consultation.

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