An accident with fatal consequences can have a devastating effect on everyone who knew and loved the person who lost their life. In many cases, though, these kinds of incidents also result in substantial financial and personal losses for the decedent prior to their passing. While a standard wrongful death lawsuit cannot directly seek compensation for these losses, there is another option available called a survival action.
An attorney at our firm could help pursue a survival action alongside or as an alternative to a wrongful death case. Working with a Kenosha survival actions lawyer could be crucial to ensuring recovery for all compensable losses stemming from a fatal accident, both those sustained by surviving loved ones and those experienced by the decedent themselves.
How Do Survival Actions Differ from Wrongful Death Cases?
Both survival actions and wrongful death claims stem from a person’s cause of action “surviving” their untimely death. This means that both claims involve someone else filing suit in the decedent’s name based on grounds that would have allowed them to pursue litigation had they survived their injuries.
However, survival actions are a more direct continuation of a deceased person’s cause of action. Rather than family members filing suit for their own damages stemming from their loved one’s death, the decedent’s personal representative will initiate or continue litigation that the decedent either could have begun while they were still alive or had already begun pursuing, respectively.
For example, if a person suffers non-fatal injuries in an auto accident but subsequently passes away for an unrelated reason before they can finish filing suit, their estate representative may continue pursuing the lawsuit as a survival action. Similarly, a Kenosha survival actions attorney could work to recover losses that a deceased person sustained in the period between suffering fatal injuries and ultimately succumbing to them. Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations §895.01 lists specific matters that “survive” the prospective plaintiff’s death in this way.
Recoverable Damages and Filing Deadlines
When filed in tandem with a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action may demand restitution for both economic and non-economic losses a deceased person experienced prior to their passing, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
Any amount recovered through a survival action would then be distributed to the decedent’s heirs in accordance with their estate plan or state intestacy laws.
However, WI Stat. & Ann. §893.54 states that survival actions are subject to the same three-year statutory filing deadline as other personal injury claims, a period which generally begins from the date of the victim’s death, when they first sustained injuries prior to death, or when surviving family members discovered that their loved one’s death stemmed from negligence. A lawyer in Kenosha could provide more insight on applicable survival action deadlines in specific situations.
Discuss Your Legal Options with a Kenosha Survival Actions Attorney
The compensation awarded in a survival action can be just as important in the aftermath of a fatal accident as the damages recovered in a wrongful death case. However, survival actions can be challenging to make the most of without guidance from a legal professional who has handled claims like yours before.
A qualified Kenosha survival actions lawyer at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd could provide the assistance you and your family need. Call today to schedule a meeting with one of our team members.