What is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim And a Wrongful-Death Claim?

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Personal Injury Claims Vs. Wrongful Death Claims

It can feel like a nightmare when someone you love is injured an accident. It gets even worse if that person you love dies due to his or her injuries. It makes it more complicated for anyone wanting to make a claim too. It is not just about damages anymore, and you will need to act fast.

1. The Statute of limitations is shorter for cases on wrongful death.

In Utah, lawsuits for injuries sustained in a car accident must be filed within four years. Utah Code Ann. §78B-2-307. If however, the same accident occurs, but someone is killed, the lawsuit for wrongful death must be filed within two years. Utah Code Ann. §78B-2-304(2). That means that if you have a potential wrongful death claim, you cannot wait. You need to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

2. Damages in wrongful death cases are much more complicated than those in cases that only involve injuries.

The damages in wrongful death claims are complicated because the plaintiffs have changed. In a personal injury negligence claim the person who has been injured is suing the person responsible for the accident. In a wrongful death claim the person who has been killed cannot sue the responsible party because dead people cannot be parties to a lawsuit. When the claim is for wrongful death, the decedent’s heirs or estate are suing the responsible party.

The heirs must sue the responsible party for different kinds of relief including:

  • Medical expenses related to the last injury or illness
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages including the loss of future wages that the decedent might have earned
  • Pain and suffering of family members caused by the decedent’s untimely death
  • Loss of care, companionship, and parental guidance.

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