The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another.
In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for the damages, pain, and suffering associated with an injured party’s death. Typically, there are two different types of claims you can file after the death of a loved one—wrongful death and survival action.
Though wrongful death and survival action claims are sometimes confused, there are several key distinctions.
Wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim occurs when a person dies as a direct result of another’s reckless, intentional, or negligent conduct. Since the victim is unable to file a claim against the responsible party, certain family members can file a wrongful death claim for emotional grief and other damages suffered. Under Florida’s wrongful death act, the deceased party’s surviving spouses, parents, or children can recover compensation for damages such as loss of financial or parental support, loss of household assistance, and funeral expenses.
In awarding damages in wrongful death cases, the jury will consider factors such as relationship to the deceased party, the value of the decedent’s probable net income, and the replacement value of the deceased party’s services to the survivor.
Survival action claims. Alternatively, the surviving family may choose to file a survival action claim after the death of an injured party. Effectively, a survival action claim is an extension of an already existing legal claim that was already being sought prior to the injured party’s death. Unlike a wrongful death claim, a survival action claim does not identify the death as the direct result of the injury for which damages are sought.
Instead, a survival action claim seeks to recover damages for the substantial pain and suffering the injured party suffered before their death. Damages for survival claims include compensation that the deceased party would have been able to recover had he or she not died before filing a personal injury claim. This could include loss of income, medical expenses, and overall pain and suffering before the time of death. In order to determine the amount of damages owed, the courts may look to factors such as the severity of pain, the duration of suffering, and the apprehension of impending death.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples. Imagine Mary was involved in a slip-and-fall accident in a supermarket due to a slippery floor. Mary hit her head in the fall, and died two weeks later due to the traumatic brain injury she suffered as a result of the fall. In this scenario, Mary’s surviving spouse, children, or parents could file a wrongful death claim against the supermarket for the losses they suffered as a result of Mary’s death.
Alternatively, let’s say Mary survived her trip-and-fall accident with a broken hip and some nasty bruises. Mary filed a claim against the supermarket to recover compensation for her medical expenses, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. However, before the claim was resolved, Mary was struck by a car and killed. In this situation, Mary’s surviving family could pursue a survival action claim against the supermarket to recover the compensation Mary would have been able to recover had she survived.
Typically, Florida courts require you to choose between seeking a wrongful death or survival action claim. Talk to a Florida attorney with experience in wrongful death to determine the best option for your unique situation. With the help of a compassionate and experienced attorney, you can pursue the justice the decedent deserved and the compensation you need.
About the Author:
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Dade and Broward county roads are about to become a bit more confusing and request drivers to be more attentive to the road and the scheduled construction plans on the 826 Palmetto Expressway and I-75 throughout August 2019, while making room for a new Express Lane on the 826 Palmetto Expressway. As auto accident attorneys [..]
July 4th tends to evoke backyard barbecues, poolside cocktails, and fireworks at dusk. We usually think of spending this holiday with family, and staying close to home. On the contrary, AAA pegs the fourth as one of their busiest days. Did you know the average distance traveled on July 4th is 617 miles? What’s more, [..]
When most of us think about Fourth of July safety, we think about fireworks. Although improper use of fireworks can cause serious injuries, there’s a less obvious risk: food poisoning. Most Fourth of July celebrations involve outdoor gatherings, with perishable food that’s often brought in by a number of people, some of whom may not [..]
Summer is upon us, and it’s peak swimming pool season in the sunshine state. Although swimming is a great way to cool off and get some exercise, it can also be dangerous. Statistics show three children die every day from swimming pool accidents, and many more people sustain serious injuries. In many cases, these tragic [..]
Memorial Day offers a time to celebrate loved ones lost. It also signals the beginning of another Florida summer which often means road trip! In either case, we all find a reason and a way to cut loose. Unfortunately, these celebrations also lead to an uptick in car accidents. The primary causes? More cars on [..]
Johnson & Johnson has been a trusted name in cosmetics and household products for decades. However, in recent years, they have come under fire for lawsuits that suggest their talcum powder products caused cancer. The company isn’t just paying with a blow to their reputation, either. Earlier this year, a woman in California won $29 [..]
Every summer, Floridians look forward to that much needed break that summer camp provides: the kids to get away from the daily grind of the school year, and you to get a little breathing room from them. Exactly how much of a break would it be, though, if you’re still holding your breath in anticipation [..]
Temperatures are rising and a lot of long weekends are just around the corner. Whether you’re planning to hop in your boat for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, or other summer holidays, it’s important to stay safe this season. Boating accidents do happen here in Florida, and many can be fatal. In 2017, 658 [..]
In the height of prom season, across the country, local police and first responders work with surrounding schools, survivors, and other drunk driving prevention organizations to reenact realistic reminders of why teens in their communities shouldn’t drink and drive. One survivor in Illinois recounted his experience of being ejected through a car window after plowing [..]
Cycling is not only a convenient and healthy way to get around in Florida, but it’s widely accepted as an effective means of reducing congestion on the road and improving the quality of our environment. However, the relationship between drivers and cyclists in Florida has always been tinged with antagonism. Motorists often complain that cyclists [..]
Bars and advertisements for alcoholic products often encourage people to “drink responsibly,” but in some cases, the establishments or bartenders serving these drinks may be at least partially liable for a patron’s alcohol-related injury or death. Under certain circumstances, bars can—and should—be held responsible for over-serving patrons. Many states have “dram shop” laws (named [..]
Summertime is quickly approaching, which means barbecues, family vacations, and a lot of days sitting by the pool. While you and your loved ones enjoy the hot summer weather and cool water, it is important to keep yourself safe. In this post we will be focusing on swimming pool injuries and how to prevent them. [..]
The death of a loved one is traumatic and devastating experience— regardless of the cause. However, the ordeal can be especially upsetting if the death could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another. In Florida, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to recover compensation for [..]
Florida’s summer is well underway, and the hot weather is a perfect excuse to get out on the water. With close to 900,000 registered vessels in the state, chances are that you or someone you know owns a boat and is planning to use it this season. Getting out on a lake or the ocean [..]
Right now, all Florida drivers are required to have car insurance coverage that pays personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, but that may come to an end in 2019 if some lawmakers get their way. Florida currently operates under a “no-fault” system when it comes to paying insurance claims after a car accident. If a [..]
When you become a parent, every little decision regarding your child’s safety and development can become a hot debate. We’re not going to tell you how to raise your child, but we do have one piece of advice backed up with statistics from the AAP and NHTSA. When you are driving with your child, [..]
It’s not every day that you get into an accident and need to file a personal injury protection (PIP) suit. This type of litigation may be confusing to many, especially since PIP laws are constantly being debated and changed in Florida. However, it is possible for you to get through this process and receive [..]
What are your chances of getting hit by someone driving a rental car in Florida? Every year, the state of Florida has 15 million active drivers on its many roads and highways. About 250,000 drivers end up in car crashes annually in Florida. Since almost 85 million visitors come to enjoy Florida every year, [..]
Image: http://pixabay.com/en/dog-man-attacking-canine-training-78117/ When Pets Attack, They Can Cause Serious or Even Fatal Injuries Most people like dogs. How can you resist those adoring eyes, the wagging tail, and the warm, fuzzy head that seems to appear in your lap just when you’re feeling your lowest? So many Americans like dogs, in fact, that [..]
Car accidents can result in tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs. How is it decided who will have to pay for these damages and bills? In Florida, it usually starts with personal injury protection (PIP). If you experience damages that add up to less than [..]