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Wrongful death and survival actions: what is the difference?

| Feb 17, 2021 | Blog |

Even though death is a normal part of life, it does not make the loss of a loved one any easier. Your grief may intensify if that death comes from the neglectful actions of another party. Accidental, unexpected or tragic deaths can affect you both emotionally and financially in a more severe way than if someone passes at the end of a long life.

In Maryland, if your loved one dies as the result of another person or company’s actions, you may be able to file a suit to recover damages. The type of suit you file for will depend on your relationship to the decedent as well as the type of damages you seek.

Wrongful death claims

According to FindLaw experts, you may file a wrongful death claim for the preventable death of your loved one to seek damages for the harm their death inflicts upon you. You may receive compensation for lost wages, mental anguish, loss of consortium and emotional distress. To file a wrongful death claim, you must be one of the following:

  • The decedent’s spouse
  • The decedent’s parent
  • The decedent’s child
  • Any person related to the decedent by blood or marriage who also depends on the decedent for support

Survival actions

Survival actions differ from wrongful death claims in many ways. The decedent’s estate files the action on behalf of him or her for damages done to the decedent prior to passing away. A survival action is essentially the action the decedent could have taken if they survived instead of passing away.

Both actions are subject to statutes of limitations, so it is important to file the relevant claim as soon as possible.