A survival action in New Jersey is one of two types of lawsuits that can be brought when an accident victim dies from his or her injuries that are caused by another party’s negligence or willful actions.
Understanding the differences between “wrongful death” and “survival actions” is key to recovering the largest available damages award for the deceased accident victim and his or her family members.
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at the Harrell Law Firm represent the families of deceased accident victims and their estates in wrongful death lawsuits, which include survival actions.
What Is a Survival Action?
A deceased accident victim’s estate can file a New Jersey survival action to recover compensation for the damages that the victim suffered between the time of the accident and his or her death.
That compensation might include reimbursement for the victim’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses incurred before the victim succumbed to injuries.
Survival action settlements or jury awards are paid into the estate, where they are first subject to claims by the victim’s creditors before they are distributed to heirs according to the deceased person’s estate plan.
Who Can File a Survival Action Claim?
Unlike a wrongful death lawsuit, which the victim’s surviving family members may file, a victim’s estate representative files a survival action to recover damages that are then paid into the estate.
The administrator of the deceased victim can file a survival action after a probate court has approved the designation and appointment of that administrator.
The victim’s family members should retain a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the victim’s death to verify that all court proceedings are done properly and in a timely manner to avoid missing deadlines for filing a survival action.
How Is a Survival Action Different from a Wrongful Death Claim?
The accident victim’s surviving family members, including his or her spouse, children, siblings, and parents, can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover the damages they experience due to the death of their loved one. The victim’s estate is not a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death settlements or jury awards are paid directly to the family members who brought the lawsuit and are not subject to attachment by the accident victim’s creditors.
Likewise, the deceased person’s estate plan will not control how those damages are paid to the family members who filed the wrongful death lawsuit.
When Is a Survival Action Claim Filed?
Under New Jersey law, a survival action must be filed within two years after the date of the accident victim’s death.
Surviving family members will always be in a better position to recover fair damages when they retain a New Jersey wrongful death lawyer to file that action well before the two-year deadline.
Even if a negligent party’s liability for survival action damages is undisputed, a lawyer will need time to verify the right and standing of survivors to bring a claim and to gather and analyze evidence to evaluate the extent of the survivors’ claim for monetary damages.
Factors that Determine the Outcome of a Survival Claim in New Jersey
A successful survival action claim in NJ will deliver compensation for the damages suffered by a deceased victim between the event that caused the fatality and the victim’s actual death.
An experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer will investigate the event and argue for full reimbursement of all medical expenses, lost wages, and other objective economic losses and will demand recovery of damages to account for the victim’s pain and suffering.
Attorneys will also analyze the facts to show how a party’s negligent or intentional act was the direct and proximate cause of the injuries that led to the victim’s demise.
Free Consultation With Harrell Law Firm
Harrell Injury Law represents accident victims, their estates, and their families in wrongful death and survival actions in Wall and Howell Townships, as well as in Monmouth County and throughout the entire State of New Jersey.
Please call our offices for a no-fee consultation and learn how a personal injury lawyer can help you and your family achieve justice and get back on your feet after a tragic blow. You never owe us any attorney fees unless we recover damages on your behalf.