Wrongful death vs. survival action: What’s the difference?

time to read: 3 minutes

In Florida, the distinction between a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival action is crucial for families seeking legal recourse after the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or intentional acts.

Here’s an exploration of these two concepts from the compassionate Orlando wrongful death lawyers at DWK Law.

Wrongful death vs survival action paper surrounded by a gavel and pen.

Wrongful death lawsuits in Orlando

A wrongful death lawsuit is filed when the wrongful act, negligence, default, breach of contract, or warranty of another person or entity causes an individual’s death. The essence of a wrongful death claim is to seek compensation for the survivors’ loss, focusing on the damages suffered by the deceased’s family members or dependents as a result of the death. In Florida, the Wrongful Death Act (Florida Statutes Sections 768.16-768.26) governs these claims, specifying who may sue, the types of damages recoverable, and the time limits for filing the lawsuit.

Key aspects of wrongful death lawsuits

  • Plaintiff: The lawsuit is brought forth by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, acting on behalf of the survivors and the estate.
  • Damages: Damages in a wrongful death suit may include loss of support and services, loss of companionship and protection, mental pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses, and lost prospective net accumulations of the estate.
  • Purpose: The primary aim is to compensate survivors for the losses resulting from the death of their loved ones.

Survival action suits in Orlando

On the other hand, a survival action is a lawsuit that could have been initiated by the deceased before their death but now survives beyond their death and can be continued or initiated by the estate. Unlike wrongful death claims that focus on the losses of survivors, a survival action seeks compensation for the damages that the deceased suffered between the time of injury and the time of death.

Key aspects of survival actions

  • Plaintiff: The action is pursued by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
  • Damages: Damages can include medical expenses incurred before death, pain and suffering endured by the deceased before death, and lost wages between the time of injury and death. However, it does not include damages for pain and suffering that would have been incurred had the deceased lived.
  • Purpose: The goal is to recover damages the deceased person could have recovered had they lived, transferring those potential compensations to the estate.

Wrongful death vs. survival actions

The fundamental difference between wrongful death and survival action suits in Florida lies in whose damages are being sought and the nature of the compensation:

  • The focus of the claim – Wrongful death claims compensate the survivors for their losses due to the death of their loved ones. In contrast, survival actions compensate the estate for the losses the deceased incurred from the time of injury until death.
  • Type of damages – Wrongful death suits focus on the financial support, emotional pain, and loss experienced by the survivors. Survival actions seek to recover damages the deceased incurred before death, including pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical costs.
  • Beneficiaries – In wrongful death suits, the surviving family members or dependents are the beneficiaries. In survival actions, the beneficiaries are the heirs of the estate or those designated in the will.

Why you should know the difference between wrongful death and survival actions

Both wrongful death and survival action suits serve vital roles in providing legal remedies for families affected by a tragic loss. Understanding the distinction between these two types of claims is essential for effectively navigating the legal process in Florida, ensuring that families pursue the appropriate action that aligns with their goals for justice and compensation following the loss of a loved one.

Did you lose a loved one in an incident that wasn’t their fault? We can help.

Understanding the nuances between wrongful death vs. survival action can guide families in determining the most appropriate legal pathway to pursue justice and compensation. Call DWK Law at (833) 243-9529 to schedule your free consultation.

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