How Can Your Family Pursue Justice in a Personal Injury Case After You’re Deceased?

Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you happen to be elderly or terminally ill one of the concerns you’ll likely have is what will happen to your family after you’ve passed away, will they be less secure without you? In terms of a personal injury accident in which another person’s negligence has severely injured you and negatively affected you irreversibly, the same question might come to mind. In the early days of personal injury law if an act of negligence killed a person, they’d have no obligation to pay damages to you or your family. They might have to pay criminal charges to the state, but nothing to your estate or your loved ones. Thankfully, laws have been amended so that if you happen to die your family can file a lawsuit in your stead to pursue justice for the act of negligence inflicted upon you. Here’s what they can do:

Death Because of Negligence

If you happen to die in an accident of someone else’s making, your family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This kind of case allows your family to recover damages related to income that they will no longer receive, loss of consortium or companionship, pain and suffering, loss of relationship, medical bills and subsequently, funeral expenses. Only close relative and spouses can file this lawsuit. But in the case of parents, if a deceased child is a grown adult, they usually don’t have a claim save for a couple of exceptions. If you manage to start a case, but succumb to injuries related to the accident, a close family member can continue the case in a survival action. Under these conditions, they will be able to gain as much in recovery as if you were still alive because the death was related to the defendant’s negligence.

Injured Because of Negligence, but Death of Another Cause

Should you happen to be injured say in a construction accident, but end up dying before your case is finished because of an ongoing terminal illness, your family can’t file a wrongful death lawsuit because the death wasn’t caused by the act of negligence. A representative from your estate can continue the existing personal injury lawsuit as part of a “survival action” and they can still bring this action whether the Plaintiff died during or before the personal injury case was filed. The main caveat in this scenario is that this representative can only recover damages that were accrued up to the point of the Plaintiff’s death. This includes damages related to income lost and pain and suffering. 

If your loved one died following a personal injury, speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer, such as one from the Eric Roy Law Firm, right away.