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Survival and Wrongful Death Claims

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February 1, 2019

When someone dies as a result of another person or company's negligence, his surviving spouse, parents, children, or siblings may have grounds to pursue a survival and wrongful death claim in civil court. While some states consider survival claims and wrongful death claims completely separate actions, in Delaware, both types of claims are combined into a single wrongful death lawsuit. However, although Delaware considers survival claims and wrongful death claims to be part of a single action, they serve two distinct purposes.

Wrongful Death and Survival Claims Serve Two Distinct Purposes

Survival actions allow a victim's personal representative to seek financial recovery for damages the victim sustained prior to his death. The three most common types of survival action damages include compensation for the victim's pain and suffering, accident-related medical expenses, and lost wages. Another way to think of a survival action is that it lets surviving family members fight for the damages the victim could have pursued in a personal injury claim had they lived.

Wrongful death actions, on the other hand, are designed to compensate eligible family members for losses they incurred as a result of their loved one's death. In addition to reasonable funeral and burial expenses, wrongful death claimants can also seek financial recovery for:

  • Financial support and benefits the victim would have provided
  • Loss of parental, marital, and household services
  • Mental anguish

Because Delaware combines survival and wrongful death actions, wrongful death claimants can pursue a financial award for the losses the victim sustained before dying, as well as the losses they themselves suffered due to the passing of their loved one.

Consult an Experienced Delaware Wrongful Death Attorney

If you lost a loved one in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash, workplace accident, slip-and-fall, or defective product incident caused by another person or entity's negligence, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation. While no amount of damages can make up for no longer having your loved one in your life, a fair financial settlement or award can hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence and ensure that an unexpected death in the family doesn't shake your financial footing.

Do you have questions about a Delaware wrongful death case? Contact Morris James today at 302.655.2599 or complete our online form to schedule a free initial consultation. Act quickly, as the time to file a lawsuit is limited.

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