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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Blog / Wrongful Death / What is the Difference Between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death Claim?

What is the Difference Between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death Claim?


Serious motor vehicle crashes and many other types of accidents in the Richmond area can result in fatal injuries. While nobody anticipates that a deadly incident will occur on any given day, unintentional injuries — often resulting from another party’s negligence — happen with frequency. Indeed, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), unintentional injuries are currently the third-leading cause of death in the United States, causing more deaths than all other causes except heart disease and cancer. Moreover, the rate of unintentional deaths has increased in recent years. When another party’s negligence or careless behavior causes the death of a loved one, it is common to find out more about wrongful death law and how it may apply to the case.

Yet in addition to wrongful death law, you might learn about something called a “survival action.” While survival actions and wrongful death claims are closely related, there are important distinctions between them. Our Richmond wrongful death lawyers can provide you with more information.

Wrongful Death Versus Survival Action 

A party can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit when a deceased person’s death resulted from the wrongful action — negligent behavior, or an intentional act — of another party. Wrongful death lawsuits are possible when the act or omission that led to the fatal injury would have allowed the deceased to file a personal injury claim if they had survived.

What is a survival action, then? This type of claim is typically filed alongside a wrongful death lawsuit when the deceased person survives the injury initially but later succumbs to it. In a survival action, it is possible to seek compensation for losses that occurred during the period between the injury and the death.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions 

Under Virginia law, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is generally two years from the date of death. The same statute of limitations typically applies to survival actions. In other words, a wrongful death claim and survival action must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased’s death in order for the surviving family members to be eligible to obtain compensation.

While the statute of limitations for both types of claims is generally two years, it is important to discuss the details of your case with an attorney to ensure that your claims are filed in a timely manner and before they become time-barred under Virginia law.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Richmond, Virginia 

Dealing with the death of a loved one is extremely difficult on many levels, and the prospect of moving forward with a wrongful death claim or survival action can seem daunting. We know how difficult it can be to consider legal action while you are grieving a tremendous loss, but we also know how critical it can be to obtain compensation to help cover extraordinary expenses at this time. If you have questions or need assistance, an experienced Richmond wrongful death lawyer at Latham & Martin can help you. Contact us today for more information about wrongful death and survival actions in Virginia.




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