When a loved one dies, the property they leave to their heirs includes any lawsuits they were eligible to bring. Following their passing, their estate’s representative could still bring the lawsuit on their behalf.
These lawsuits, called survival actions, might relate to the incident that led to their premature death. In this case, the estate representative could also file a wrongful death action. However, it is possible for a survival action to be unrelated to the deceased person’s cause of death.
If another party’s negligence caused your loved one harm before their death, the estate representative could stand in your loved one’s shoes and hold the liable parties legally responsible for their actions. However, it is vital to move quickly in these situations in order to preserve the right to sue. A Columbus survival actions lawyer could advise a family about whether legal action is viable in their specific case. Contact our firm today to discuss your case with our experienced wrongful death attorneys.
The Estate Representative Must Bring the Lawsuit
When a person dies, someone must collect their property, pay their debts, and distribute any remaining assets to their family members. This process is called settling the deceased person’s estate.
If the deceased person had a will, it would name an Executor to handle these matters. If someone dies without a will, a court appoints someone to settle their estate. In either case, the person with the job of settling an estate is called the estate representative.
A lawsuit that has not been filed yet is an estate asset. It is a property interest, just as a debt owed to the deceased person is a property interest. With the help of our Columbus attorneys, an estate representative could file the deceased’s lawsuit and collect the damages your departed loved one was entitled to receive.
What May Constitute a Survival Action?
A negligent party that caused harm to the decedent could be held liable to pay damages in a survival action. So, for example, if a person suffered a broken arm in a fall in a store and then died of natural causes several months later, the estate representative could bring a survival action seeking damages related to the fall. If a person was burned in an explosion and died of their injuries a few days later, the representative could bring a survival action seeking damages for the losses the deceased person experienced due to the explosion.
In any survival action, the estate representative must prove that another party’s negligence caused the decedent’s injuries. Negligence means a failure to act with reasonable care that directly causes harm to others. The evidence needed to prove negligence depends on the circumstances that led to the death. Our Columbus survival actions attorneys could investigate a death to help identify the liable parties and collect the proof necessary to establish this responsibility.
If a medical error caused the death, the estate representative must demonstrate that the medical professional did not use the degree of skill and knowledge another similarly qualified provider would have used in comparable circumstances. If a defective product caused a fatal accident, holding the manufacturer liable requires showing that the product had a defect when it left the factory. If the death resulted from a fall in a public place, the representative must prove the property owner failed to protect lawful visitors from hazards.
Possible Damages in a Survival Action
The damages an estate representative could collect in a survival action are the losses the deceased person suffered due to the incident. Damages could include the deceased person’s medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Survival action damages are paid into the deceased person’s estate. The money could be used to pay any debts the decedent left, with the remainder being distributed to the family. During a consultation, a Columbus attorney at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy could explain which family members may have a claim to the proceeds from a survival action.
Get Help From a Columbus Survival Actions Attorney
If your family member’s estate includes a potential lawsuit, you may be eligible to seek justice on their behalf. A Columbus survival actions lawyer could help you pursue legal action against those responsible for negligently harming your loved one.
There is a brief time to bring an injury lawsuit, so it is essential to obtain legal help as soon as possible. We are attorneys you can trust. Reach out to O’Connor, Acciani & Levy today to schedule your initial consultation.