When there is a fatality due to an accident, wrongful death claims are the first that come to mind. A lesser-known but equally crucial legal option is called a survival claim, which provides different compensation than wrongful death claims.
What is a survival claim?
Contrary to many first impressions, a survival claim is not about the surviving victims in a lethal accident. A survival claim is effectively a personal injury claim that would have been conducted if the deceased had survived. Whereas a wrongful death claim focuses on the family, survival claims focus on the injuries, lost earnings, and pain and suffering of the victim.
Family members file this type of claim, and any compensation goes directly to the estate rather than to the family. The funds can be used to pay off any outstanding medical bills and other debts. Once these debts are paid, the remaining funds will be disbursed to the deceased’s beneficiaries.
What goes into a survival claim?
Survival claims are like personal injury claims and require the following:
- Medical records
- Police reports (if available)
- Photographic evidence
- Information about the accident
- Other pertinent evidence to show the event’s circumstances
Things like pictures, videos, and damage reports are beneficial as they can provide clear evidence of how the accident occurred and who was at fault. As the deceased can not give testimony to how the accident took place, physical evidence becomes more important.
Those who filed the claim, presumably the family, will be involved in the legal process and regularly contacted with updates concerning the case. The attorney will keep the filer of the claim informed about the need for additional information or documentation.
Why file a survival claim?
While a wrongful death claim helps the deceased’s family members, the survival claim will help close out any final obligations of the individual who passed. The survival claim will also factor in lost wages and compensate the estate with the potential income had the accident not occurred. As with personal injury claims, a survival claim will also factor in the victim’s pain and suffering.
Accidents involving a fatality can lead to a difficult legal battle, with many caveats and concerns not pertinent to other personal injury cases. A well-equipped legal team by your side makes it easier to cope with a complicated process during these critical times. Many little know options are available for a survival claim that a good legal team can guide you through.
Do you think the estate of a lost loved one could benefit from a survival claim? Contact Fry | Goehring today.