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Survival actions and wrongful death claims: What’s the difference?
The untimely death of a loved one can be devastating for those left behind. This is particularly the case when you know that your loved one’s death occurred because of someone else’s negligent, reckless or intentional actions – whether that’s related to a car wreck, a bar fight, medical mistakes or something else.
In Florida, the victim’s surviving family members may be able to pursue two different types of compensation claims: A survival action and a wrongful death claim.
Survival actions and wrongful death claims
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that seeks to recover damages for the harm that the victim’s family members suffer due to their loved one’s death. Wrongful death claims typically look to compensate family members for:
- Lost future income the victim would have brought in
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses for the deceased
- The lost future services the victim would have provided their family, including companionship, guidance and emotional support
By comparison, a survival claim is based on the personal injury claim that the deceased would have likely pursued (or started to pursue) prior to their death. Florida law (unlike some other jurisdictions) specifically states that personal injury claims do not die with the plaintiff.
Compensation for a survival action can include medical expenses related to their injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering – including whatever fear they experienced as they approached death.
No amount of money will ever bring your loved one back, but a wrongful death claim and a survival action can help your family regain some financial stability. They are also an effective way to hold the responsible party or parties accountable for their actions.