If a family member died as a result of a drunk driving wreck, you need to hold the drunk driver accountable for compensating you for your catastrophic losses. While this will not bring your loved one back or ease your grief, it can help you to move on with your life and to restore some of the financial stability you lost. You may not realize that there are two types of claims that can be pursued when a person dies in crash: a wrongful death claim and a survival action. Which one should you file?
Differences Between Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions in Texas
While both survival and wrongful death actions deal with the aftermath of a death following a drunk driving accident, they are very different in many ways. Understanding the differences can help you decide which type of claim you can file, or whether you can file both. Here are some of the key ways these claims differ:
- Purpose of action. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the family of the drunk driving victim for the loss of their loved one. A survival action is brought to obtain the compensation that the deceased person could have received if he had survived the wreck.
- Party to pursue claim. In a wrongful death action in Texas, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the victim can file a claim for compensation for their losses. In a survival action, the personal representative appointed in the victim’s will or executor under Texas probate laws would pursue the claim on behalf of the victim’s heirs. This person could be different from those pursuing a wrongful death claim, especially if this was a second marriage for the victim or he had children outside of marriage. In addition, the victim’s heirs entitled to receive compensation in a survival action could be different from those receiving the settlement in a wrongful death case.
- Compensation received. In a wrongful death action, the family members could obtain compensation for the lost earning capacity of the victim, loss of the support, advice, and comfort of the deceased, emotional pain and suffering, and inheritance they lost. In a survival action, the heirs would be entitled to compensation for reasonable funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses the victim incurred before his death, and the pain and suffering the victim experienced due to his injuries.
If a negligent drunk driver caused the death of a loved one, our experienced drunk driving attorneys are here to help you decide whether to file a wrongful death or survival action or both and to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us directly at 817.380.4888 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
We help injured victims throughout Texas including Arlington, North Richland, Grapevine, Bedford, Hurst, Euless, Irving and all points in between.