What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death and a Survival Action?

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In October, a jury found that electronic defects in a 2005 Toyota Camry caused the car to accelerate suddenly, crash into a wall, kill a passenger and cause serious driver injuries. Toyota had to pay $3 million in compensatory damages to the victim’s family. In Georgia, if a relative dies in an accident, the family or representative of the victim’s estate can sue the company or person who caused the harm for damages through a survival action and a wrongful death action.

What is a survival action?

The goal of a survival lawsuit is to obtain compensation for damages based on harm suffered by the victim from the time of the accident up to the date of their death, and are typically filed where the victim survived the accident, but later succumbed to their injuries. Typical survival claims include claims for financial losses and pain and suffering. The party administering the decedent’s estate normally brings a survival action.

What is a wrongful death action?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a suit against the individual or entity that caused the victim’s death. Normally, the surviving spouse brings a wrongful death claim. When there is no surviving spouse, the victim’s children can sue. If there is no spouse and no children, a claim may be brought by the victim’s parents. The executor or administrator of the victim’s estate can also bring forth a claim on behalf of the estate.