Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions: Understanding the Legal Distinctions

When a loved one tragically loses their life due to someone else’s negligence in Orlando, legal actions can provide a path to justice and compensation for the surviving family members. However, it’s crucial to understand the distinctions between wrongful death and survival actions to navigate the legal process effectively. This article aims to clarify these legal nuances for those facing such challenging situations in Orlando.

Wrongful Death Actions

A wrongful death action is a legal claim filed by the surviving family members or representatives of the deceased against the party whose negligence or misconduct led to the person’s death. Key points to know:

  • Statute of Limitations: In Florida, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. This means you have two years from the date of the death to initiate legal action.
  • Eligible Parties: The deceased person’s spouse, children, parents, or other dependents may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
  • Damages: Damages in wrongful death actions typically include compensation for funeral and medical expenses, loss of financial support, and emotional suffering.

Survival Actions

Survival actions, on the other hand, are a distinct legal concept. They arise from the idea that if the deceased had survived their injuries, they would have had a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Key points:

  • Continuation of the Deceased’s Claim: Survival actions allow the deceased person’s estate to continue a personal injury claim that the deceased would have had if they had survived.
  • Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations for survival actions in Florida is typically four years from the date of the injury or accident, not from the date of death.
  • Damages: Damages in survival actions may include compensation for the deceased person’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages between the injury and the time of death.

Key Differences

  • Plaintiffs: Wrongful death actions are filed by surviving family members or dependents, while survival actions are filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.
  • Purpose: Wrongful death actions seek to compensate surviving family members for their losses, while survival actions aim to compensate the estate for the deceased person’s losses.
  • Time Limit: The statute of limitations differs between the two actions, with wrongful death actions having a shorter timeframe.

Legal Counsel and Guidance

Navigating the legal complexities of wrongful death and survival actions in Orlando can be daunting during an already emotionally challenging time. Seeking legal counsel from experienced personal injury attorneys is essential to ensure the appropriate actions are taken and the rights of the deceased and surviving family members are protected.


Understanding the distinctions between wrongful death and survival actions is vital for those dealing with the aftermath of a tragic loss in Orlando. These legal actions provide a means for families to seek justice and compensation, but they each serve distinct purposes and have separate legal requirements. Seeking legal guidance is a crucial step toward pursuing the appropriate course of action and finding closure in the face of such adversity.