Damages in DC Survival Actions

If a party were to die intestate, then a surviving family member would have to initiate the probate proceedings and ask the court to be appointed as the personal representative of the decedent’s estates. If the family member cannot perform this task, or if there is some issue preventing a family member from taking this role, then the issue can be discussed with an experienced DC wrongful death attorney and addressed appropriately.   

A survival action is usually a companion claim that is filed along with a wrongful death claim. The process by which this claim is handled is very straightforward and is typically handled at the same time and its factors are considered while the wrongful death claim is proceeding. 

Types of Damages in DC Survival Actions

A survival action, by definition, allows for the enforcement of the decedent’s claim after his/her death. Typically, the types of damages recoverable in a survival action depend on the facts of the incident. Some cases allow for significant damages on behalf of the decedent, such as medical bills, conscious pain and suffering, etc. Other claims have very little damages due to the nature of the incident. Pain and suffering is measured through an award of damages. Ultimately, the court awards damages based on the evidence that is presented. No two cases are ever alike, and therefore a DC jury’s award of damages is unique to that individual case.

Evidence Used to Determine Damages

The type of evidence collected in these cases runs the gambit from the ordinary medical bills to the extraordinary. The type of evidence really depends on the nature of the claim and the facts of that specific case. The role of damages in a DC survival action is an attempt to compensate the estate for the injuries and claims that the decedent would have had, if he/she had not died. Essentially, the personal representative stands in the shoes of the decedent and allows the decedent’s claim to live on even after their death. 

Conscious Pain & Suffering 

Conscious pain and suffering is a recoverable form of damages in survival actions. This term is used to describe the conscious pain and suffering a decedent experienced before he/she died. Sometimes, the theory of conscious pain and suffering is apparent based upon how the incident occurred.  Other times, it may not be readily apparent to a lay-person as to whether the decedent suffered any conscious pain and suffering before he/she died. In those instances, it is helpful to have a DC wrongful death lawyer by your side calling on professionals that may be able to speak more clearly about it. Conscious pain and suffering may be a significant portion of a claim or it may be a very minor portion of the claim depending upon the facts and circumstances of the decedent’s death. 

How Potential Clients Can Help Their DC Wrongful Death Lawyer 

The most important thing that any client can do in about any case is to have a good working relationship with their attorney. It’s always best to have an open dialogue and free communication between those involved in a wrongful death claim or a survival action claim in DC. The attorney should be fully aware of everything that’s going on outside of his office so that he or she can adequately advise their client on any effect it may have on the wrongful death claim. 

Unfortunately, financial compensation can never make up for the loss of a family member. It is simply a reality of the situation that the only compensation allowed in a civil case is money. The DC wrongful death attorneys at our office do not pretend that financial compensation is in any way a fair or adequate compensation for the loss of a loved one.