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A survival action is similar to a personal injury negligence or wrongful death claim and may be necessary to obtain compensation and justice in an automobile accident or other personal injury which results in death. If a person is injured due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, that injured person may recover for the damages caused to him or her, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To obtain this recovery, it may be necessary for the injured person to file a lawsuit as a plaintiff in a personal injury case.
If the motor vehicle accident or other negligent event ended in death, New York law allows the executor or administrator of the estate to pursue a wrongful death action on behalf of the surviving family members. Damages recoverable in a wrongful death action include losses suffered by the surviving family, such as funeral and burial expenses, loss of income and benefits from a deceased wage earner, and the loss of care and companionship the deceased would have provided to spouse, children, and other family members. Damages suffered by the deceased, such as pain and suffering, are not recoverable in a wrongful death cases.
Sometimes an injured person initially survives a catastrophic accident but later dies from injuries before being able to file a lawsuit for damages. In these cases, the law allows for the representatives of the estate to pursue a survival action. Technically speaking, the right to file a lawsuit is said to “survive” the death of the person who was injured. Since the survival action is brought in the name of the person who was injured, recoverable damages do include losses personal to the deceased, such as the pain and suffering experienced between the time of the accident and the time of death. Any recovery obtained in a survival action goes to the estate of the deceased and is distributed to family members and other heirs and beneficiaries.
In most cases where a survival action may be filed, a wrongful death case may be filed as well. Since the factual issues surrounding the cause of the accident and the defendant’s liability are the same, courts will often combine a survival action and wrongful death action into one case. New York personal injury attorney Leandros Vrionedes looks to combine such cases wherever possible in order to maximize the recovery available to the surviving family. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, the responsible party should be held accountable, and you should not be further victimized by having to bear financial hardships brought about by another’s negligent or wrongful conduct. If you have lost a loved one in an automobile accident, construction accident, or other case of negligence, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. in New York City for a free consultation.