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When a person is injured due to the negligence of another person, they have the option of filing a personal injury claim. If that person dies before they’re able to bring that claim, what happens? Is the at-fault party now off the hook?

Well, if that were the case, that would set a horrible precedent. Fortunately, a personal injury claim does not die with the victim. Instead, a “survival action” is brought by a beneficiary of the decedent. A survival action allows the transfer of the personal injury claim to the deceased party’s beneficiary (typically a spouse, child, or parent). The benefit of a survival action is that it prevents the defendant from avoiding the consequences of the negligent action that caused the death of the injured party.

Then what’s a wrongful death claim, you ask? A wrongful death claim allows beneficiaries of the deceased to seek compensation for their related damages (e.g., loss of financial support), as opposed to the victim’s damages (e.g., pain and suffering, lost wages, etc). The survival action simply allows the estate to seek damages that the victim could have recovered if he or she had not died.

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