If the plaintiff in a personal injury case dies, can the lawsuit continue?

In Florida, a survival action can continue if the plaintiff in a personal injury case dies due to causes unrelated to the case.

Unlike a wrongful death claim, a survival claim applies when the injury for which damages are sought did not cause the death. For example, if a person was suing because of disfiguring burns sustained in a fire, but later dies as a result of a heart attack unrelated to the burns, the surviving heirs can file a survival action. Damages recoverable in a survival action include the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and other damages that occurred from the time of injury until the time of death.

If the plaintiff dies because of the injuries for which the suit was filed, then the plaintiff’s surviving heirs may file a wrongful death claim, which can mean that more extensive damages can be recovered. The damages in a wrongful death suit can include the cost of medical bills and other losses up until the person’s death, funeral costs, and damages such as loss of financial support and loss of companionship that the victim’s survivors face.

Please contact Joyce & Reyes for a free consultation if you believe you have a wrongful death case or a potential survivor action.

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