In many of our cases, the circumstances surrounding a loved one’s death can include additional liability and the potential for the recovery of damages. For example, we continue to see a number of clients that have lost a family member to cancer, only to find out that their cancer was caused by exposure to a hazardous material when they were employed. These cases often require some special attention in the resolution of probate issues, but they also often involve additional counsel to pursue a variety of legal claims.
Wrongful death claims are brought as a means of compensating families for the loss of a loved one. The plaintiffs in these cases are permitted to sue defendants because of the plaintiff’s relationship to the Decedent. Typically, this means that a Decedent’s spouse and children can pursue the spouse’s and children’s legal claims against the defendants.
Survival claims work differently. A survival claim is owned by the Decedent, or rather the Decedent’s Estate. This lawsuit is meant to recover damages for the injuries suffered by the Decedent prior to death. These suits can only be brought and maintained by the Decedent’s executor or administrator. More importantly, any recovery from a survival claim is a part of the Decedent’s Estate, and will pass under a Last Will and Testament (if one exists) or to the Decedent’s heirs (if no will exists).
We work with clients on all sides of these issues. Our team focuses on the probate side of the issues, and assists with the creation of the Decedent’s Estate where appropriate. Then, we bring other professionals onto the team – attorneys with years of experience prosecuting both wrongful death and survival claims. As a result, we can guide our clients to satisfactory results in a variety of legal issues.