Personal injury claims and wrongful death claims have many similarities. The main similarity between the two cases is that both are based on the theory of negligence. Negligence is when duty was owed, the duty was breached, and damages resulted from that breach.
A typical personal injury claim is brought by a person who was injured due to another party’s negligence (“claimant” or “plaintiff”
). Under a typical personal injury claim, the claimant can obtain compensation for damages, including lost wages (both past and future), medical expenses, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages. The claimant must first prove that the at-fault party’s negligent actions were the cause of the claimant’s injuries. Once the claimant has proven liability, the claimant may then recover damages. The amount of compensation depends on the specific case and how significant the injuries were.
In a wrongful death claim, the survivors of the victim are the ones who bring the claim since the injured party has unfortunately passed away. The claim is filed against the person who was responsible for the death of the victim. Under a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s survivors may recover compensation for damages, including medical expenses, loss of future earnings, loss of companionship and comfort, financial support, and funeral expenses. Because the victim in a wrongful death claim is deceased, the damages recovered are meant to provide compensation for the survivors of the deceased who depended on the decedent’s support.