When one files a wrongful death claim, they may seek compensation for a variety of damages. For example, depending on the circumstances a person might seek compensation for funeral costs, loss of future income or loss of companionship, among other damages. One type of damage that a victim’s survivors might also want to seek is compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering. In Louisiana, this type of action is a separate cause of action from a wrongful death claim. It is known as a survival action.
As mentioned, in a survival action, the victim’s survivors are seeking compensation for the pain and suffering that, had the victim survived, he or she would be able to pursue damages for. In a survival action, the victim’s survivors are pursuing just such a lawsuit on the behalf of the victim. It is possible to pursue both a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action concurrently.
Under Louisiana Statutes Art. 2315.1, a victim’s survivors have one year from the date the victim died to pursue a survival action. Louisiana law dictates who can pursue a survival action. First, the victim’s surviving spouse and/or children can pursue a survival action. If the victim had no surviving spouse or children, then his or her parents may pursue a survival action. If the victim had no surviving spouse, children or parents, then his or her siblings may pursue a survival action. If the victim had no surviving spouse, children, parents or siblings, then his or her surviving grandparents may pursue a survival action.
A survival action is just one more way the loved ones of a person who died due to the negligence of another can pursue recovery for their loss. It is a powerful tool, that when combined with a wrongful death action, provides the victim’s survivors with many means to seek the recovery they need to become whole again. Of course, no amount of money can bring back a loved one lost, but it can go a long way in helping the victim’s survivors cope financially during what is a difficult time in their lives.