What the Difference Is Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action
Laws regarding a wrongful death claim versus a survival action can vary depending on what state you live in. When you’ve lost a loved one because of a negligent driver in a car accident or for other reasons in Pennsylvania, having advice from a personal injury lawyer can make the difference in whether your family obtains the compensation it deserves.
Recovering Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
Under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act, a spouse, children of the deceased or parents may place a claim to recover damages if the fatality was due to negligence or an intentional act by another. Other family members may not file. Under a wrongful death claim, the compensation is given to family members, not the estate of the deceased. Losses that can be recovered include:
- Funeral expenses can be recovered.
- Medical care, hospitalization and other related expenses associated with the accident and ultimate death of the loved one are recoverable.
- Wages that are lost until the deceased’s retirement age, including pension and insurance benefits are recoverable.
- Housing, clothing, food, education, medical care and other expenses they would have provided for the family can be recovered. This includes work the decedent would have contributed to the home, including child care, yard work, cooking, cleaning and others.
- The surviving spouse may recover compensation for the loss of consortium, love and affection the decedent provided.
- The family can be compensated for their psychological and emotional loss.
- The expenses for the administration of the deceased’s estate can be recovered.
Recovery of Compensation in a Pennsylvania Survival Action
In a Pennsylvania survival action, a personal representative is permitted to recover compensation for the losses suffered by a deceased person. The damages that can be recovered typically include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost wages or services, loss of companionship, pain and suffering endured prior to death, and others related to the death. These compensatory damages are intended to provide financial support for the deceased’s family, as well as to compensate for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be recovered in a Pennsylvania survival action. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing—in other words, they serve to deter the person from repeating the same wrong and to make an example of them. Punitive damages are only awarded when a court finds that the conduct of the defendant was particularly egregious or offensive.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence in Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to compensation through either a wrongful death lawsuit or a survival action. It is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and make sure that you are fully compensated for the losses that you have suffered.
Travis Law Firm
The Travis Law Firm offers professional and compassionate representation to clients who have lost a loved one because of another’s negligent actions. Please contact us at (814) 277-2222 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us through our online contact form. Count on us to fight aggressively on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve.