difference between wrongful death claim and survival action If your loved one was fatally injured in an accident, you and other surviving family members may be able to pursue a claim for damages under Florida law.

Depending on the circumstances, you could be eligible to file either a wrongful death claim or a survival action to recover compensation for an injured party’s death. Let's take a look at the differences between these two types of claims.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim involves a person killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Some examples include being struck by a drunk driver, falling from a height due to a lack of railings, or slipping on someone else’s property.

State laws give all accident victims the legal right to file injury claims in order to recover payment. Since a fatally-injured victim can't file a claim on their own behalf, the right to bring an injury claim falls to the next of kin. In most cases, only a surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death claim.

Potential damages in a wrongful death case may include:

  • Compensation for funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial contribution
  • Lost parental support
  • Loss of household assistance
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional trauma

The amount awarded depends on the claimant’s relationship to the deceased person, the deceased person’s assets and income, and the value of the deceased person’s services to the family.

What Is a Survival Action?

A survival action is an extension of an existing legal claim filed by an injured party. For example, a victim may file an injury claim after being struck by a piece of falling construction equipment, but is killed in a car accident while the case is still pending. If this happens, the victim’s surviving family members may pursue a survival action to recover the compensation the individual would be owed had he or she survived.

Survival actions are different from wrongful death claims because they seek compensation for the pain and suffering the injured party endured before his or her death. The death doesn't have to be related to the injury for which damages are sought in order for a survival action to be successful.

Damages in survival claims may include compensation for loss of income, medical bills, and pain and suffering between the accident and the time of death. They vary depending on the duration of the suffering after the accident, the severity of pain, and the variety of symptoms the victim suffered prior to death.

The attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can examine the details of your case and determine whether you may be eligible to file a wrongful death or survival action claim. Reach out to us using the information on this page to set up a consultation with a Florida wrongful death attorney.