Wrongful death claims are centered on compensating survivors who were close to the decedent for the losses they suffered as a result of the death. The people who can be compensated, often called beneficiaries, are the parents of the deceased individual, the spouse of a deceased party, or the party’s children. The losses themselves may include loss of financial support or include loss of companionship or sexual consortium.
Survival actions focus on the damages, medical expenses, disability, and medical expenses, suffered by a decedent before death. A representative of the estate of the decedent steps into their shoes and make a claim on their behalf.
Claims for the loss of the relationship with the deceased individual are the most commonly pursued types of wrongful death claims. This is because the loss of a relationship, generally, is more valuable than the medical bills in a survival action. The other reason people tend not to pursue survival action is when a party recovers money for medical costs and care, health insurance and healthcare providers may be entitled to portions of the money recovered to settle outstanding debts. Claims for damages related to the loss of the relationship are not subject to these debts against the estate.