A survival action suit is similar to a wrongful death suit, though the difference is that it takes into account the property damage that occurred to the wrongful death victim before they passed away.
The family of a decedent who died immediately upon contact with the negligent perpetrator without having experienced property damage is not eligible to file a survival action lawsuit. The family of a decedent who died after experiencing property damage and personal injury that resulted in their subsequent wrongful death is eligible to file a survival action lawsuit, however.
For example, if a person dies after experiencing head trauma after being impacted in a car crash where their car was damaged, their family can file a survival action lawsuit and be eligible for punitive damages.
On the other hand, if a person dies immediately upon contact by an officer who shoots them without experiencing property damage beforehand, for example, the decedent’s family is not eligible to file a survival action lawsuit. In this case, they would only be eligible to file a wrongful death claim/lawsuit.
However, if we use the same example as above and add property damage into the mix, then the family would be able to file for a survival action lawsuit. For example, if an officer shoots somebody and that person experienced property damage before they died, such as the ramming of their vehicle or destruction of their clothing or personal property, then this opens up the possibility of a survival action lawsuit. With this would come the eligibility for punitive damages.