Wrongful Death vs Survival Action Claims
If your family loses someone in an accident, legal action is likely the furthest thing from your mind. However, it may still be a good idea to look into filing suit against the person who caused the accident, because receiving any kind of compensation for the harm you suffered may help your family stay on its feet during this difficult time. If you do decide to file suit, though, it is important that you understand which type of wrongful death-related action is best for your specific situation.
Survival Actions Are About The Deceased
A survival action is about claims that the decedent would have been able to file themselves had they survived. For example, if a person is involved in an automobile accident, and passes away later in the hospital, they would have been able to file a claim for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages had they survived. Florida law explicitly states that these claims do not die with the deceased person, meaning that their estate can bring suit to recover for them.
Generally, Florida law only permits survivors to file either a survival action or a wrongful death claim, rationalizing that no one needs to recover twice for the same loss. Survival actions are considered a better option in situations where the deceased person lingered before their passing – if your loved one was killed instantly, there will be no claims that the deceased person could have filed, given that they died too fast. A wrongful death action might be a better fit for your situation, so that you can have a better chance at the compensation your family needs.
Wrongful Death Actions Are About The Family
In comparison to survival actions, wrongful death actions are intended to help the family of the deceased weather what can be a hard time, both emotionally and financially. A death is considered wrongful if it happens due to another person’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” While the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has to be the one to file the lawsuit, its benefits (if successful) will be for the surviving family of the deceased person – the spouse, parents and children, most often, but Florida law also allows other blood or adopted relatives who were “partly or wholly dependent” on the decent for “support or services.”
Damages in survival actions are restricted to only the amounts the deceased would have been able to recover had they survived. Wrongful death damages are much more wide-ranging, given that the family can seek compensation for long-term injuries like loss of support, loss of companionship, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and other losses that can last a lifetime. Either way, obviously money will not bring back a lost loved one, but it can help keep the lights on if your family has lost its breadwinner.
Call A Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing someone is never easy, but if it has happened to you, it is important to understand what your options are. The Tampa wrongful death attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are able to offer compassionate and knowledgeable representation at a time when most people need someone to lean on. Call our office today for a free consultation. You are not alone.