Survival Action Lawyer Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Survival actions are lawsuits brought by a decedent's estate (as if the decedent had lived), and are based on claims involving torts to property or torts resulting in personal injury. Under Pennsylvania law, if a person is injured by the act of another, a cause of action may accrue to the injured person. His or death does not remove the cause of action; it survives the death of the injured person and continues in the decedent's personal representative. The damages recoverable are measured by the pecuniary loss occasioned to the injured person, and therefore to his or her estate, by the negligent act which caused death. Survival action is separate and distinct from wrongful death action.
The difference between the wrongful death and survival actions is as follows:
In a survival action, the personal representative of the decedent is substituted for the decedent. The recovery obtained depends on the rights of action which the decedent possessed at the time of [his or] her death and, as in a personal injury action, amounts to the damages that the decedent [himself or] herself sustained. On the other hand, in a wrongful death cause of action, recovery depends on the rights of action that the beneficiaries, as named by statute, possess. Moreover, recovery in a wrongful death action amounts to the pecuniary loss suffered by the beneficiaries by being deprived of the part of the decedent's earnings they would have received had the decedent lived. Thus, a survival action seeks to compensate for different damages than does an action for wrongful death.
Measure of damages awarded in a survival action includes the decedent's pain and suffering, loss of gross earning power from date of injury until death, and loss of his earning power less personal maintenance expenses, from the time of death through his estimated working life span. The recovery obtained in a Pennsylvania survival action depends on the causes of action the decedent possessed at the time of death and, as in a personal injury action, amounts to the damages that decedent himself or herself sustained. Thus, the estate may recover lost earnings, medical expenses, and pain and suffering before death.
Net lost earnings are decided by first calculating the total amount of the decedent's gross earnings, including the fringe benefits, between the date of death and the expected working life span, and deducting from this amount the amount of monetary contributions [he] [she] would have made to [his] [her] family during this period and the amount of money that the decedent would have spent on [himself] [herself] for [his] [her] personal maintenance during this period. The probable cost of personal maintenance includes only the necessary and economical living expenses, such as food, shelter, and clothing, that the decedent would have been required to spend in order to maintain life during this period.
Pain and suffering damages constitute an amount that will fairly and adequately compensate for the mental and physical pain, suffering, and inconvenience
and loss of life's pleasures that the decedent endured from the moment of
[his] [her] injury to the moment of [his] [her] death as a result of this accident.
However, the decedent's pain and suffering damages are not recoverable in every survival action under Pennsylvania law. Where the decedent is unconscious for the entire period between the time of injury and the time of death, there can be no recovery for pain and suffering in a survival action. Also, where the decedent is killed instantaneously, there can be no recovery for pain and suffering in a survival action. Usually survival actions and wrongful death actions are combined in a single suit to avoid double recovery.
Why You Need to Hire a Survival Action Attorney
In survival actions, the amount of compensation the decedent's estate will receive depends on the proper estimation of all damages allowed under the Survival Act. With the help of an experienced Pennsylvania survival action attorney, the decedent's estate may recover high compensation. At the Lassen Law Firm, our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys have handed many survival and wrongful death actions. Most of the survival actions settled before going to trial to the great satisfaction of our clients who did not have to litigate their survival action cases for many years. The Lassen Law Firm offers zealous representation to those who seek financial compensation in survival actions. If you have lost a loved one due to a wrongful act of another, contact the Lassen Law Firm to discuss your right to file a survival action.
Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations in Survival Actions
Waiting too long can be detrimental to your right to recover, because in a survival action, statute of limitations begins to run on the date of injury, as though the decedent were bringing his or her own lawsuit. The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is two years for personal injury cases. In some situations, however, it may be tolled. Thus, under discovery rule, which provides that statute of limitations runs from time of actual discovery, or time when discovery of injury was reasonably possible, the decedent's estate may bring a survival action outside of the two-year limitation if certain requirements are met. In addition, statute of limitations may be tolled under the fraudulent concealment doctrine, which applies when the liable parties had a duty to disclose a fact, but concealed it.
Litigating a survival action and proving damages may present a hurdle to the decedent's estate. Only a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney with a lot of experience handling survival actions can bring you the desired results. The Lassen Law Firm employs highly competent, experienced attorneys who are legal experts in the field of personal injury, wrongful death and survival actions. If the Lassen Law Firm handles your survival action, you may rest assured that we will do everything in our power to recover the highest compensation available to you under the law. Contact the Lassen Law Firm now to see how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a 29% contingency fee, not the standard 45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
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Authored by: Christian Lassen