Survival Actions in Prince William County

A survival action aims to award a decedent’s family a monetary sum for damages that incur between the time of the injury that led to the untimely death and the actual death. A wrongful death action, on the other hand, begins at the death and goes toward the future. In a large percentage of cases, the survival action may be irrelevant. However, you should always consult with a wrongful death lawyer in Prince William County to discuss the particulars of your situation before deciding on a final course of action.

The Process of a Survival Action

A survival action, similar to any other personal injury action, begins with either the demand for settlement or the filing of a lawsuit. A beneficiary or family member will usually file a lawsuit or make a demand to the insurance company. The survival action would include certain terms that trigger liability, typically that the party at fault was negligent. As a result of this negligence, the decedent incurred damages which led to a serious injury, and the injury may have ultimately resulted in the decedent’s death.

If the decedent in Prince William County did not leave behind a will, an attorney will look to the Virginia Code to see who may qualify as an executor or personal representative of the estate pursuant to the statute. The attorney of the decedent also helps the grieving family approach the case in the most efficient and economic way possible, allowing the family to focus on recovery, and works diligently to ensure they are compensated for the unfortunate loss of their loved one.

Damages in Prince William County

Similar to wrongful death actions, a survival action in Prince William County will have both economic as well as non-economic damages. Economic damages include lost wages and medical bills incurred before the decedent’s death, whereas non-economic damages include pain and suffering. Damages are typically calculated using direct evidence, such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as testimony and, potentially, expert witnesses.

Establishing Liability

Liability is established in survival actions the same way that it is established in a personal injury action or wrongful death action. Liability is shown when there was a clear duty owed from a person to the party that suffered an injury that ultimately proved fatal. As a result of the breach of duty, the decedent suffered an untimely death. This concept is commonly abbreviated as Duty-Breach-Causation-Damages.

Duty would be something like obeying rules on the road or abiding by the safety rules of one’s workplace. The breach is the failure by the party at fault to do so, often through simple negligence. Causation is that as a result of the breach of the duty, the decedent was injured, and due to that injury, he or she died.

Resolving a Survival Action Case

The client and attorney in a case work together to decide an appropriate course of action for seeking recovery for survival action. In many cases, most appropriate course may be through litigation. In other cases, though, the best course may be to make a demand on the insurance company and negotiate prior to filing lawsuit. The best course sometimes may even be a combination of both, where a lawsuit is filed but the ultimate result is achieved out of court. Determining which course to take depends on the circumstances of each case individually.

Survival actions, seeing as they are more similar to personal injury actions, tend to take less time than wrongful death actions. This is partly because there is less necessity for expert witnesses and thus the amount of evidence that may be presented will be smaller.

The most important thing a client can do to help his or her attorney is to be in communication with the attorney as much as possible. Timely responses to an attorney’s requests and working with the attorney to make sure that evidence is available in a timely manner are also extremely helpful in getting a favorable outcome.