Survival Law: 4 Questions for Your Attorney

When an accident happens due to someone else’s negligence, the resulting injuries may be catastrophic and lead to the eventual death of the injured person. When this happens to a loved one, such as your spouse, a child or a parent, the fallout can be especially difficult when a personal injury lawsuit is already in motion. However, there are a few questions you can ask your attorney that may help you proceed with collecting damages on behalf of your deceased loved one.

1. What Is Survival Law? 

If your family member should pass away as a result of his or her injuries, you may be able to enact what is known as survival law to carry on the case. This law allows you to act as a representative for your loved one and his or her estate. For example, if a parent died in an accident that was the fault of someone else, you can take on the role of representative and continue to seek damages for both surviving family members and that parent’s estate.

2. Can I File for Wrongful Death? 

If your loved one died as the direct result of the injuries he or she sustained in the accident, you may be able to add a wrongful death action to the existing suit or file one separately as a surviving family member. If the injured party was your spouse, you might be able to sue for several different damages, including loss of companionship and financial support.

3. What Must I Prove? 

Before you can continue your loved one’s case or file a secondary claim, you may have to prove that your loved one was injured by the neglectful actions of another and that his or her death was directly related to those injuries. Obtaining medical reports and copies of the death certificate and autopsy results, if any, can help support your case.

4. Are There Time Limitations? 

Most states have their own laws for time limits regarding a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney can advise you about how your home state handles these matters and whether you still have time to file. If your loved one dies for reasons unrelated to the personal injury case, the court may inform you that you are only entitled to collect damages up until the decedent’s date of death.

When a loved one dies as a result of someone else’s carelessness, you may not know where to turn for help. Contact a personal injury lawyer for further advice and information.