A survival action, governed by the Texas Survival Statute, is a legal recourse available to the estate of a deceased person who suffered injury that led to their death. It allows the estate to pursue a claim for damages suffered by the deceased from the time of injury until their death. These can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, as well as lost wages.
Typically, to pursue a survival action there must be conscious pain and suffering by the deceased between the time of the accident and the death. In general, longer periods of conscious pain and suffering allow for a stronger survival action claim, though short periods can support a survival action, particularly if the suffering was immense. This period of conscious suffering is substantiates the claim for the pain and suffering damages under the Texas Survival Statute.
A survival action is distinct from a wrongful death claim, as it seeks to address the losses experienced by the deceased, rather than the surviving family members.
In Texas, wrongful death claims and survival actions serve distinct roles in the aftermath of a tragic loss of life due to someone else’s negligence. As legal concepts under Texas Law, it’s crucial to understand their differences:
In summary, while both seek to redress the losses following an untimely death, a wrongful death claim compensates the survivors for their personal loss, whereas a survival action is concerned with the losses and suffering of the deceased prior to their passing.
The beneficiaries of a survival action and a wrongful death claim in Texas differ significantly, which is important to understand when pursuing compensation for a tragic loss.
In a survival action under the Texas Survival Statute, the beneficiaries are usually the deceased’s estate or the heirs at law. These beneficiaries are typically designated in the deceased’s will, or in the absence of a will, determined by Texas intestate succession laws. The damages recovered from a survival action are distributed according to the testamentary provisions or laws of intestate succession.
In a wrongful death claim in Texas, the beneficiaries are specifically the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. These immediate family members are uniquely positioned to suffer emotional and financial losses due to the untimely death of their loved one. The specifics are as follows:
While there may be an overlap between the beneficiaries in both claims, the distinctions are primarily based on the nature of the claim and the damages sought.
Consider a hypothetical example to better illustrate the differences between a survival action and a wrongful death claim.
Consider the hypothetical scenario of Mr. Smith, who was severely injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver. Following the accident, Mr. Smith survived for a month before succumbing to his injuries.
During this time, he incurred substantial medical expenses, lost wages due to his inability to work, and experienced significant pain and suffering. In this scenario, the survival action could claim damages including:
These damages are pursued by the representative of Mr. Smith’s estate under the Texas Survival Statute, for the losses experienced by Mr. Smith himself prior to his death.
Continuing with the case of Mr. Smith, let’s consider that he left behind a wife and two minor children. After his death, his family can file a wrongful death claim. This claim seeks compensation for the losses they endured due to Mr. Smith’s untimely death as a result of the other driver’s negligence. The damages they could claim include:
These damages are pursued by Mr. Smith’s surviving family members to compensate for their personal loss resulting from his untimely death.
Yes, in Texas, it is possible to pursue both a wrongful death claim and a survival action simultaneously, provided you meet the requirements for each. The wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the surviving family members’ personal losses, while the survival action seeks reparation for the deceased’s personal losses prior to their death when there is a period of conscious pain and suffering.
Although these claims may overlap to some extent, each addresses distinct categories of different types damages. Our experienced attorneys can navigate these complexities and guide clients in making both a wrongful death claim and a survival action to receive the full measure of justice for their loss.
Yes, there are distinct benefits to making a survival action versus a wrongful death claim in Texas.
Therefore, the intrinsic benefit of a survival action is that it addresses the deceased’s personal losses, making it a crucial supplement to a wrongful death claim, which primarily caters to the losses of surviving family members.
In the state of Texas, the statute of limitations for both wrongful death and survival action claims is typically two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. This means that the survivors or estate have a two-year window to file a lawsuit.
However, the statute of limitations for personal injury varies by state in the US. Moreover, there can be exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the beneficiaries are minors or legally incapacitated, the two-year limitation may be tolled until they reach the age of majority or the incapacitation ceases. Given the complexities of these laws, it is prudent to consult with our experienced attorneys to ensure that all claims are timely and properly filed.
Survival actions and wrongful death claims are typically handled by personal injury attorneys, as a survival action is a form of personal injury claim. However, it is unique in that it is filed posthumously on behalf of the deceased. Essentially, it is a continuation of the personal injury claim that the deceased could have filed had they survived.
For all the suffering and financial strain caused by the loss of your loved one, you deserve justice, and we at Thompson Law are committed to helping you achieve it. Our legal team, which specializes in wrongful death claims and survival actions, will guide and support you every step of the way — from understanding the nuances of Texas law to the diligent pursuit of your claim.
Don’t let the complexity of the legal process deter you from seeking compensation that can provide financial security and a sense of closure for your family. Contact Thompson Law today, and allow our experienced Texas wrongful death lawyers and survival action attorneys to fight for the financial award your family deserves.
Thompson Law receives an attorney fee and you pay no legal fees as our client unless we pay you. Thompson Law has 350 years of combined experience in legal representation and has won over $1.8 billion dollars in cash settlements for our clients. We master the art of managing client cases with empathy, compassion, respect and, of course, prodigious skill. Contact us today for a free, risk-free consultation to discuss your accident and your options.
State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.