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Should I File For Wrongful Death Or File A Survival Action?


The sudden passing of a loved one can throw all aspects of your life into turmoil, from the emotional to the financial. Learning that your loved one allegedly died because of the negligence or reckless behavior of another person can feel like a slap in the face, but you may have options to seek monetary compensation for their actions. While obviously, money will not bring back the person or heal your loss, it can help keep your bills paid and keep your family afloat as you struggle to get back to normal.

Not Always Easy To Tell

There are two potential avenues for a bereaved person or family to seek compensation, and each has different requirements and peculiarities. The first is called a standard wrongful death lawsuit, and the second is known as a survival action. Survival actions are less common; they usually occur when the deceased person had (or would have had, within certain time limits) a pre-existing legal claim in a different type of case. Wrongful death actions are more straightforward, and simply try to hold the defendant liable for the injuries the deceased person experienced.

While some cases are straightforward, sometimes it can be difficult to determine what type of case you have, which can in turn complicate matters. Florida law does allow both survival action and wrongful death theories to be pled in the alternative (meaning, at the same time), and if the cause of death is determined, the complaint can then be amended. Survival actions focus on the pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before their passing; if there was none or if it cannot be ascertained, a wrongful death claim may be a better choice to file.

Different Damages

If you are certain that a survival action is the best option for your case, it must be filed by the decedent’s personal representative, on behalf of the estate – given that the survival action is based on the deceased’s pain and suffering before their passing, it makes sense that no one else would be authorized to bring such an action. Wrongful death cases, by comparison, can be brought by the decedent’s immediate family, or by those family members who were “partially or wholly dependent” on the deceased for “support or services.”

Because these two types of actions are brought over different people’s losses, one will generally seek different types of damages, as well. For example, survival actions will seek compensation for damages like pain and suffering of the deceased, any lost wages for the period between injury and death, and the cost of medical bills for treating their condition. Wrongful death suits seek damages for the deceased person’s family members, and thus, their losses will be paramount. Examples of damages sought in wrongful death cases include loss of consortium (marital companionship and relations), loss of support and services that the decedent may have been providing to their family members, and emotional pain and suffering for those family members close enough.

Call A Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney

If you lose someone you love, it can feel as though life has changed forever in the blink of an eye, and it can be even worse if they died because of someone else’s negligence. If you have questions about a wrongful death or survival action, the Tampa wrongful death attorneys from the Rinaldo Law Group are ready to sit down with you and try to answer the questions you likely have. Contact our offices today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.


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