A wrongful death claim is a cause of action which stems from the victim’s death from an accident, is brought on behalf of the surviving beneficiaries or dependents of the deceased individual, and has different types of damages from cases where just an injury results.
For example, say someone is married with two children and becomes injured in a severe car accident caused by the negligence of a another driver. If the victim is hospitalized and sues the person at fault, but before the victim’s case is heard, they die from the injuries sustained in the car accident. The victim’s spouse may proceed with the claim, after getting qualified as the personal representative of the estate, as a wrongful death matter against the person at fault.
You also need to be aware of the “survival statute” which preserves a victim’s cause of action against an at-fault party after the victim passes away from some cause other than the accident. This enables the estate to take over the victim’s cause of action against the at-fault party. The damages available in a survival action include all the damages for the injury that are available to the actual victim if the individual survived.
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