In the realm of law, perhaps no other legal actions are as profoundly heart-wrenching as wrongful death and survival actions. These legal avenues offer solace and resolution to those whose worlds have been shattered by the negligence or malevolence of others – but what is the difference between the two?
When an individual has lost someone they care about to someone else’s negligence, the Law Office of Shane McClelland, PLLC can help them file a wrongful death or survival action. With almost 20 years of experience, Attorney Shane McClelland is well-versed in both wrongful death and survival actions. When clients partner with him, he will walk arm in arm with them during the process, guiding them step by step and protecting their rights throughout their case.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death and Survival Action in Texas?
Losing a loved one is a challenging experience, and it can be even more distressing when their death is the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional harm. In Texas, two legal actions can be pursued in such cases: wrongful death and survival actions. While these terms may seem similar, they serve different purposes and involve distinct legal principles.
Wrongful Death Action
A wrongful death action is a legal lawsuit that allows the surviving family members of a deceased person to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. Here in Texas, wrongful death lawsuits are governed by Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Chapter 71.
Key features of wrongful death actions in Texas include:
- Who can bring the lawsuit: In Texas, the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, and parents, or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Damages: The purpose of a wrongful death action is to compensate the surviving family members for their losses, including monetary losses such as lost income, companionship, care, and support.
Also, in Texas, a wrongful death lawsuit must generally be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death.
Unlike a wrongful death action, a survival action is not focused on compensating surviving family members for their losses. Instead, it is aimed at allowing the deceased person’s estate to pursue a lawsuit that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived.
Key features of survival actions in Texas include:
- Who can bring the lawsuit: The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is responsible for filing a survival action. This representative is typically appointed by the deceased person’s will or by the court if there is no will.
- Damages: A survival action seeks to recover the damages the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived. This includes compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses incurred by the deceased person before their death.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for survival actions is generally two years from the date of the injury that ultimately led to the person’s death.
The primary difference between wrongful death and survival actions lies in who can bring the lawsuits and what they seek to recover. Wrongful death actions are brought by surviving family members to compensate them for their own losses, while survival actions are brought by the deceased person’s estate to seek damages the deceased would have been entitled to if they had survived.
In many cases, both a wrongful death action and a survival action may be pursued simultaneously. The two actions are not mutually exclusive, and the compensation awarded in each may serve different purposes.
Seek Legal Counsel for a Wrongful Death or Survival Action in Texas
While these legal actions may not alleviate the pain of losing a family member, they can provide a means of seeking resolution and compensation for the damages suffered. Navigating the complexities of wrongful death and survival actions can be overwhelming, especially during a time of grief and loss. It’s important to seek legal guidance during these difficult times.