Survival Action vs. Wrongful Death Claim: Navigate Legal Differences

carlsoninjuryPersonal Injury, Wrongful Death

Survival action vs wrongful death

Wrongful death claims have been on the rise, not just in Utah but all over the US. A recent study by Johns Hopkins, more than 250,000 people in the United States die every year because of medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.

It’s hard to overcome the emotional and financial distress caused by your loved one’s death. Fortunately, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit to get compensation for your loss. However, you have to be careful. You must know the difference between a survival action vs. wrongful death claim.

But knowing the difference between a survival action and a wrongful death claim can be like navigating through a dense forest – it requires clarity and guidance.

Let’s get started.

A. Survival Action vs. Wrongful Death Claim

In Utah, a survival action takes the place of a personal injury claim that the deceased would have filed had they survived. In other words, a survival action is about continuing the legal battle. It is like passing the baton in a relay race – the race does not end just because one runner fell.

On the other hand, a wrongful death claim is a new legal process, initiated by the family or heirs of the deceased. It’s a separate legal action that seeks to acknowledge and compensate for the loss caused by the death. This claim addresses the financial and emotional impact on the survivors, including loss of companionship, financial support, and funeral expenses.

1. Compensation You Can Recover

As you can see, a survival action is only appropriate in wrongful death cases where the deceased did not immediately die. It focuses on the damages the deceased person incurred from the time of their injury until their death.

This could include:

  • Medical costs incurred before the said person’s death
  • Lost income from the time of the injury until the deceased would have ceased working
  • The pain and suffering the deceased person experienced before their death

As you can see, a survival action is less about the survivors and more about the deceased’s unfinished legal journey. The court also awards the damages to the deceased person’s estate. 

In short, the damages for a survival action are supposed to go to the deceased person. From there, the deceased person’s attorney or the administrator of their estate will distribute the compensation as per the will or the latest inheritance laws in Utah
However, in case of a wrongful death claim, any damages or jury award goes to the close family member who filed the claim.

2. Who Can File the Survival Action and Wrongful Death Claims in Utah

In Utah, state laws define the scope of both survival action and wrongful death claims. You must be a designated family member (heir) or an estate representative to file the survival action or wrongful death claim.

That said, a wrongful death claim in Utah is generally filed by close family members – spouses, children, or parents. In contrast, the executor of the deceased’s estate will file a survival action.

However, each case is different. So, it is best to consult a Utah wrongful death attorney. A competent and experienced attorney will help you understand the right course of action. 

3. Impact on Families

The impact on families in both scenarios is profound but different. A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to mend the fabric of a family torn by loss. It’s an acknowledgment of the gap left behind. A survival action, however, is more about honoring the struggle of the deceased. It’s ensuring that their unfinished battles are fought to the end.

You need to understand these differences to navigate through a wrongful death claim or a survival action in Utah. Each path offers a way to seek justice, either by completing the journey the deceased could not finish or by healing the wounds inflicted on those left behind. And it’s essential to have the right guide for those venturing into these legal territories.

B. Role of a Utah Wrongful Death Attorney

Once you understand these differences, the next step is to take action. Time is critical as these claims often have statute of limitations. In Utah, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the death. Also, whether filing for a survival action or a wrongful death claim, you need a skilled attorney.

A competent Utah wrongful death attorney will help you figure out the right way to seek compensation. Most importantly, they understand the legal complexities and how to navigate them successfully. It’s the best way to avoid any potential legal pitfalls.

Here’s what a lawyer can do:

1. Gathering Evidence: Building Your Case

Equally important is gathering evidence. This involves collecting medical records, employment documents, and witness statements. 

Remember, wrongful death claims can sometimes be difficult to prove. That’s why you need a skilled attorney to help you figure out your case. 

A Utah wrongful death attorney often has the resources to collect and analyze the required evidence. They can arrange expert witnesses and hire private investigators, among other things. 

2. Emotional Journey: Support Through the Process

It’s important to acknowledge the emotional journey in these cases. Dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit or a survival action can be draining. It’s a road that often requires emotional support. Your lawyer could be your emotional support through this journey. They can help you find professional help like counseling.


As you can see, understanding the difference between a survival claim and a wrongful death claim in Utah is the first step in your legal journey. Whether you seek to complete a loved one’s unfinished story through a survival action or to mend the gap they left in your life with a wrongful death claim, it’s a path towards justice and closure.

And remember, in this journey, you’re not alone. With the guidance of a skilled Utah wrongful death attorney, clarity in your objectives, and strength in your resolve, you can navigate these complex legal waters and find the resolution you seek.

At Carlson Injury Law, we handle all our wrongful death claims with compassion and care. Our experienced and skilled attorneys can help you at every step. Let us help you seek justice. Call us today!