Should I Bring A Wrongful Death Suit Or Survival Action?
Losing a loved one is nightmarish for most people, and nothing will ease the pain of that loss. However, in some cases, the family of the deceased may be able to receive some compensation in the courts, either by filing a wrongful death action or a survival action. Both are different actions which can be brought under Florida’s wrongful death act, but only one can be brought in connection with any one death.
Two Different Types
Wrongful death suits are brought by the family of the deceased person, or by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate on the family’s behalf. They attempt to recover what the family has lost – for example, lost wages, lost companionship, funeral and medical expenses, and so on. In Florida, it is important to keep in mind that only certain family members may recover in a wrongful death action – generally, the deceased’s spouse, minor children, or parents are permitted to recover, but no other family, such as siblings, aunts/uncles, or cousins.
Survival actions, by comparison, are brought on behalf of the decedent and/or their estate, and they are usually for a cause of action that happened to the deceased before their passing – for example, if the decedent had been hit by a car before their passing, any civil case stemming from that episode may be brought as a survival action to try and recover, given that under Florida law, no cause of action dies with the person.
Which To Bring?
In determining which type of suit to bring after the death of a loved one, one must examine the specific facts of their case. However, it is important to keep in mind that Florida law allows a person to plead both (that is, both wrongful death and survival action) in the alternative, which means that both suits are permitted to be brought at the same time, even though technically only one can fit what actually happened. The one that turns out to be incompatible with the facts will be dismissed, and the other case will be allowed to progress.
Either way, it is important to keep in mind that regardless of which you choose to bring, you have a specific time in which to do it. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in Florida is relatively short, with only two years in which to file your suit. It may seem very short indeed, but any longer than that and memories begin to grow thin. ‘He said, she said’ is not a sufficient ground on which to bring a lawsuit, and as such, the legislature has set a finite limit on how long one has to sue.
Call A Knowledgeable Attorney
When you experience a death in the family, most of the time you are too stunned to think about legal matters. If you have reason to believe your loved one’s accident could have been avoided, though, contacting an experienced lawyer may be the first step toward recovering compensation for the harm your family has suffered. While nothing can bring your loved one back, it can help alleviate medical and funeral expenses and ensure that your family has one less thing to worry about. The Tampa wrongful death attorneys at Rinaldo Law Group are ready, willing, and hopefully able to try and help you in such a difficult time. Call our offices today for a free consultation.