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What is the difference between personal injury, survival, and wrongful death claims?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2017 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

When a motor vehicle accident occurs, a lot of injury and loss can result, depending on the circumstances of the crash. In any case, it is important for accident victims to have their case thoroughly evaluated to determine who is responsible for the crash, what damages the crash caused, and what legal claims may be available to accident victims.

There are several types of legal claims that are commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents. The most common of them are personal injury claims. These claims, as readers know, involve injuries an individual has suffered as a direct result of a motorist’s negligence. The type of damages sought in these cases can include both economic and non-economic damages, and punitive damages in some cases.

When a motor vehicle accident victim dies, there are couple types of claims can be pursued by those the accident victim’s survivors. One of these is wrongful death claims, which may be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Both economic and non-economic damages may potentially be recovered in these actions, as well as punitive damages, in cases where the wrongful act that caused the death was willful. Damages awarded in these cases, minus funeral, administration and recovery costs, are awarded to next of kin according to the order established by in state law.

Survival actions are different in that they involve damages for which a deceased accident victim could have recovered prior to death. With certain exceptions for some types of claims, the deceased individual’s personal representative may initiate or revive a legal claim against a liable party.

For those who have been directly involved in an automobile accident, as well as those who survive a loved one’s death as a result of an automobile accident, it is important to work with an experienced attorney when pursuing any legal claim. Not only will skilled legal counsel be able to determine the types of legal claims that may be filed, who is a potentially liable party and what damages may be available, a skilled attorney will also provide strong legal advocacy to help one build the strongest possible case.