Losing a loved one is always a terrible experience. It can be even worse if your family relied on your loved one for support. While nothing can replace your loved one, you might be able to file a survival action or wrongful death claim to lessen the financial burden of losing your loved one.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim holds a party responsible for a death that it caused. These claims allow family members recover compensation to soften what they lost. The damages recovered from these suits belong to the family member (and anyone else who might benefit) who filed the suit, and can cover things like:
- Burial expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering of family members
How is a survival action different?
A survival action is an entirely different claim. Survival actions are the continuance of a claim that the decedent had filed prior to death. Survival actions cannot be related to the accident or injury that caused the death.
Consider an example: the decedent falls down the stairs at his apartment complex because the handrail he grabbed was broken. He suffered internal bleeding but survived long enough to file a suit. A personal representative cannot continue that claim.
However, if the decedent filed a claim after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car accident a year before the accident, that claim will survive.
A survival claim can cover any compensation that your loved one could have won had s/he survived. This includes:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Pain and suffering and punitive damages are not usually available in a survival action.
While it is family members who typically file a survival claim, under Florida law, the damages recovered belong to the victim’s estate, which means that damages will be distributed per the deceased’s will.
What if my loved one had already filed a personal injury claim?
What you do next depends on what injury the case was based upon. If the injury case was regarding an injury that occurred before the accident that took your loved one’s life, you can continue the claim.
If the claim was for the accident that caused your loved one’s death, that claim will end. However, you can file a wrongful death claim and recover compensation for what the accident cost you and your family.
How can I get legal advice about survival actions in Ft. Lauderdale?
Determining whether you will be able to file a survival claim or wrongful death can be complex. The Montero Law team wants you to focus on yourself and your family rather than how you can recover the compensation you need. We can handle your entire case from start to finish to give you the time you need to rebuild your family and adjust to your new situation. And we handle everything with no upfront out-of-pocket costs from you so you only pay us if you win your case.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit because your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today at 954-767-6500.