Personal Injury Vs. Wrongful Death Cases In Florida
In Florida, if a person suffers an injury because of the negligent act of another person, the victim can recover damages from the negligent party. Also, surviving family members of someone who loses their life after suffering injuries because of someone else’s negligence can recover compensation from the negligent party. If you or your loved one was injured in a Florida accident because of another person’s negligence, or if you recently lost a loved one because of another person’s negligence, it is crucial that you understand the difference between personal injury and wrongful death cases. Indeed, both cases involve negligence, recklessness, or sometimes even the intentional actions of another. However, other than that similarity, personal injury and wrongful death cases are extremely different. The following is a discussion on the difference between personal injury and wrongful death cases in Florida.
Understanding Personal Injury Cases in Florida
A personal injury claim is filed by the individual who suffers an injury because of another party’s negligence. In Florida, personal injury claims can arise in a variety of ways. For example, a personal injury claim can occur in a case of a slip and fall accident, defective product, or motor vehicle accident. Most personal injury claims arise because of motor vehicle accidents.
When a person files a personal injury claim, they do so to recover compensation for their injuries and other damages. Often, when people file personal injury claims, they do so to be able to cater to their medical expenses. Medical treatment in the U.S. can be expensive, so it is only fair that the negligent parties compensate personal injury victims.
The following are some of the other damages you can recover in a Florida personal injury claim;
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Childcare costs
- Transportation costs
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
Depending on your case’s specifics, you might even be able to recover punitive damages in your Florida personal injury case. In Florida, punitive damages are awarded when there is evidence that the defendant is guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Additionally, a personal injury victim’s spouse may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium by filing a separate claim if their spouse’s personal injury claim is valid.
Understanding Wrongful Death Cases in Florida
Generally, wrongful death claims are filed by the survivors of a person who suffers a personal injury and dies. A wrongful death claim arises in a situation where a personal injury deteriorates and ends in death.
Under Florida law, when a person dies due to another party’s negligence or wrongful act, only the estate’s personal representative (who is usually a family member of the deceased) can bring forward a wrongful death claim. So, what if a personal representative is not named in the decedent’s Will? Usually, the court appoints a personal representative if one is not named in the decedent’s Will.
When a personal representative files a wrongful death claim in Florida, they must list in the suit all the surviving family members and survivors with interest in the case. According to Florida law, the following are the family members who can recover awards in a wrongful death claim;
- Blood relatives
- Adult children when there is no spouse
- Parents of minors
- Adoptive siblings
The following are some of the damages surviving family members can recover in a Florida wrongful death claim;
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral expenses
In Florida, when a person dies after suffering a personal injury, the estate’s personal representative can also recover compensation for the estate. Some of the damages recoverable for the estate in a Florida wrongful death claim include;
- Lost wages
- Loss of earnings
- Funeral expenses paid by the estate
- Medical expenses paid by the estate
Additionally, you might be able to recover punitive damages in a Florida wrongful death case if there is evidence that the defendant is guilty of gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
What Happens if a Person Dies After Failing a Personal Injury Claim?
If a person dies after filing a personal injury claim, surviving family members can recover compensation in a wrongful death claim. However, this can only happen in a situation where the person died due to the defendant’s negligence or wrongful act. If a person dies after filing a personal injury claim for reasons that are not related to the underlying personal injury case, what can take place is known as a survival action.
Contact The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A.
To receive professional help with a Florida personal injury or wrongful death case, contact the skilled and dedicated Fort Myers personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., at 239-329-8577.