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How Do Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Claims Differ?

February 23, 2024
Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Claims Differ

Serious accidents can have devastating consequences. If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, it can impact every area of your life. In addition to dealing with significant grief, you may be facing financial challenges such as funeral expenses, loss of household income, and outstanding medical debt.

While you may know that you can seek financial compensation for your losses, you may not know which type of claim to file. Personal injury and wrongful death attorneys can explain the specific legal options available in your case. Here is an overview of the two types of accident claims, who can file them, and what kinds of compensation they may provide.

What Are Personal Injury Claims?

Personal injury claims seek compensation for accidents arising from another person’s negligence or carelessness. In most of these situations, the injured person will file a claim against the person who caused the injury. The negligent party’s insurance company typically pays if your personal injury claim is successful.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Seek in a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury claim may entitle you to compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of employability
  • Disfigurement or permanent impairment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment in life

What Are Wrongful Death Claims?

Wrongful death claims arise from fatal accidents caused by another party’s negligence or misconduct. In these cases, the injured party is no longer living, so the victim’s family will typically bring the claim with the help of a wrongful death attorney. If the claim is successful, the court will order the payment to go to the decedent’s estate, which often consists of their spouse and children.

What Kind of Compensation Can I Seek in a Wrongful Death Case?

A fatal negligence legal expert can help you evaluate what kind of compensation may be available in your case. In general, wrongful death legal counsel can help you file claims that seek compensation for the following:

  • Funeral and cremation expenses
  • Medical expenses related to the fatal injury
  • Lost income that the victim would likely have earned
  • The value of care, support, and guidance the victim would have given the surviving family members
  • Lost inheritance for the survivors
  • The deceased’s pain and suffering prior to death

What Kind of Claim Should I File?

Wrongful death and personal injury claims permit recovery of expenses such as medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering of the accident victim. In particularly egregious cases — such as a fatal DUI or an accident involving intentional misconduct — both types of claims may recover punitive damages intended to punish the defendant.

The main difference between the two is whether a death occurred and who files the claim. You would typically file a personal injury claim if you suffered a non-fatal injury. If you lost a close family member, however, a wrongful death attorney could help you file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one.

In some cases, a family may start with a personal injury lawsuit but then have to change to a wrongful death claim if the victim passes away. Regardless of which claim you file, you can only bring one (not both). A personal injury lawyer can help you determine which type of claim makes the most sense in your case.

Contact a Wrongful Death Claims Lawyer

If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, protect your rights by seeking a knowledgeable bereavement compensation attorney. Call 800-433-2408 today to talk to an experienced wrongful death attorney at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C.