At common law, a personal injury action abates with the death of either party.  The Supreme Court in Johnson v. Consolidated Frieghtways, Inc. discussed the rationale behind the common law: The old non-survival rule sprang from the medieval view of torts as a form of revenge, incapable of being continued on behalf of either victim or wrongdoer. Read the article by Kathleen Loucks which appeared in Hennepin Lawyer.