What If a Victim Passes Away While Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim?

When someone else’s negligence causes a serious or catastrophic injury, the victim may not survive long enough to see the end of a personal injury claim. He or she may pass away from the severe injury before receiving financial compensation from the responsible party. In this scenario, the deceased person’s family may be able to file a special type of claim known as a survival action.

Survival Action Laws in Arizona

Arizona Revised Statute 14-3110 states that a cause of action for damages shall survive the death of the person entitled to compensation, except in a case involving defamation, loss of consortium, alimony, an invasion of privacy or a breach of promise to marry. In all other scenarios, if the plaintiff dies before the conclusion of the case, his or her surviving family members or a personal representative can assert the action on behalf of the decedent. This will be a survival action.

A survival action is a lawsuit taken over by the deceased person’s estate after he or she passes away from an injury. Usually, the personal representative of the deceased person brings this type of action. The decedent’s will may assign this person, or else the courts will identify him or her instead. A survival action has the power to compensate surviving family members or the deceased person’s estate for damages due to the negligent acts of someone else. A survival action is brought on behalf of the deceased person and his or her estate as if the victim were still alive. It is not the same as a wrongful death lawsuit.

Difference Between Survival Actions and Wrongful Death

A wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona is a cause of action brought by surviving family members for the harm they suffered due to a loved one’s death. It seeks compensation for losses such as loss of consortium, lost wages and inheritance, mental anguish, and loss of the loved one’s companionship. A survival action, on the other hand, seeks compensation on behalf of the deceased person for his or her specific losses.

It is possible to file both a survival action and a wrongful death claim in Arizona. The former can recover damages on behalf of a deceased loved one, while the latter can reimburse family members left behind, such as a surviving spouse, child or parent. Although the deceased person him or herself cannot directly benefit from a survival action, the money can go to the estate to pay off the decedent’s debts or be distributed among those who are qualified to inherit.

Damages You Can Recover With a Survival Action in Arizona

Damages refer to the financial compensation available with a survival action or wrongful death lawsuit in Arizona. While no amount of money can make up for the preventable death of a loved one, the compensation available with a survival action could help surviving loved ones and beneficiaries move forward with greater financial peace of mind. It can also bring a sense of justice by holding the at-fault party accountable for his or her wrongdoing or misconduct. Survival action damages can pay for many of the victim’s losses.

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • The decedent’s medical bills
  • The decedent’s property damage
  • The decedent’s pain and suffering
  • The decedent’s lost wages from the date of the accident to the date of death
  • The estate’s legal fees
  • Punitive damages

The personal representative will need to prove that the victim suffered these losses to recover compensation. The damages available with a survival action vary on a case-by-case basis. It can be easier to recover the compensation the estate and beneficiaries require with assistance from a Glendale personal injury lawyer. A plaintiff’s attorney will know how to fight for maximum compensation during a survival action and/or a wrongful death lawsuit.