What's The Difference Between Personal Injury And Wrongful Death Claims?

Posted on: 13 December 2018

Many attorneys will accept both personal injury and wrongful death claims from their clients, and in many cases, the two different types of lawsuit are a lot alike. Both of these claims involve tort law, which is an area of the law that offers protection for individuals from the wrongful or negligent acts of someone else. However alike personal injury and wrongful death may be, they are also highly different. Take a look at some of the primary differences between personal injury cases and wrongful death cases. 

Personal injury claims are filed by the person injured but wrongful death cases are not.

When someone files a personal injury claim, it usually means they have been injured by someone else and they are seeking damages for their own situation. For example, someone might file a personal injury suit to recoup the money they have had to pay out for medical bills because of their injury. On the other hand, when a wrongful death claim is filed, it is filed by the surviving relatives of the person who sustained the injury that caused death.

Compensation is awarded for different reasons with a wrongful death claim.

When someone files a personal injury lawsuit, they are usually seeking payment for things like medical bills, lost wages, and possibly pain and suffering. When someone files a wrongful death claim, the compensation being sought is usually for a different purpose. For example, the surviving relative will likely be seeking compensation for the loss of lifetime financial earning capacity of the deceased. This means that they may be asking for payment to cover the income that was lost because the individual died at the fault of another party. Wrongful death claims also usually involve suing to recoup the money paid for funeral services.

Wrongful death claims do not always involve negligence.

Personal injury claims most often involve the negligence of a specific person or entity which resulted in the injury of the person filing the claim. For instance, an individual may file a personal injury claim because another party was a negligent driver. However, wrongful death claims can but do not always involve the negligence of an at-fault party or entity. It is possible for a wrongful death claim to be filed because someone intentionally caused the death of someone else. For example, an individual may bring up a wrongful death claim after a criminal case involving an assault.