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Personal Injury vs. Wrongful Death: Understanding the Differences

In Florida, legal actions for personal injury and wrongful death claims have similarities. Both claims are based on a theory that a duty was owed and breached. Under both claims, someone has suffered a harm or injury which resulted in medical bills and noneconomic damages (eg. permanent disability, mental trauma). Despite their similarities between the two claims there are important differences. If you and your family are considering filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, this article will give you guidance on how to make the best decision for your family.

Personal Injury

Typically, a personal injury lawsuit is filed against another person. In most personal injury cases, the victim will need to see a doctor, or other medical professional, to receive care for their injuries. Once medical care ends, a lawyer will review medical records and file a claim against the responsible party for compensation. A court will award compensation for one of three reasons:

  1. Lost wages: lost wages are generally awarded based on the victim’s inability to work or being incapacitated as a result of the injury.
  2. Medical costs: medical costs are calculated based on actual medical care provided to the victim and future care as projected the victim’s doctors.
  3. Pain and Suffering: pain and suffering is awarded based upon the victim’s perception of pain and interruptions in the victim’s life/activities caused by injuries sustained in the accident.

A personal injury case can only be brought by the victim. Sometimes, a spouse may also be able to bring a separate claim for loss of services. This claim is based upon the victim’s inability to perform certain duties the victim provided for their family and dependents.

Wrongful Death

As the name suggests, in a wrongful death claim, the injured party is deceased. Compensation in a wrongful death claim will be based upon three factors:

  1. Lost Wages: lost wages are calculated by the time lost from work to receive medical treatment until the victim passed away.
  2. Medical Treatment: medical treatment is calculated using the cost of treatment provided when the victims passes away.
  3. Funeral Expenses: funeral expenses are calculated based upon the cost of final arrangements for the deceased.

It is important to remember that because the victim is deceased, a wrongful death claim will not include pain and suffering. Additionally, the victim’s personal representative may file the wrongful death claim for the victim. The compensation gained from the claim will be used to support the victim’s survivors and dependents.

Seek Help for you Legal Claim

After an accident that causes injury or death, it can be hard to know what to do next. If you or a loved one has been injured or you have lost a loved one in an accident, then you should contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. We can advise you and your family on the best decisions for you and ensure you are properly compensated for your injuries. Please contact us today at 877-371-3111 to schedule an appointment.

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