Survival Actions for a Loved One’s Death
Is it better to pursue a Wrongful Death case or a Survivor Action case?
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you might consider bringing a lawsuit against those responsible. One consideration, though, is whose damages you are looking to recover. How you answer this question determines who can sue and what you may recover. In the end, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and the best course for your situation.
A wrongful death action in Wisconsin focuses on injuries to those left behind. Wisconsin law limits who can sue here. If there is a surviving spouse, no other relatives or heirs can file a wrongful death action. If not, the right falls to the children, then to parents, and then to siblings. Only the first available plaintiff in the hierarchy has standing in these lawsuits, so the ability of heirs to bring a claim is limited. Damages include lost financial support, emotional loss of your loved one, and other costs he or she has to bear due to the wrongful death.
A survivor action, in contrast, focuses on the injuries of the deceased. If he or she could have filed a lawsuit but is not alive to do so, their estate can sue on his or her behalf. This will include damages like medical costs, lost wages, and the pain and suffering that the deceased endured before his or her death. Any damages the estate recovers become part of what is distributed to the heirs, whether by law or under the person’s will.
Which Course Is Better?
In some cases, the damages available under a wrongful death action may be higher, but not available to most of the heirs of an estate. A survivor action passes to whomever is designated as an heir by will or statute. An experienced attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons for your lawsuit and file the action that will best help you get the compensation you deserve. To talk through your case, contact Eisenberg Law Offices online or at (608)256-8356.