Imagine a case in which a worker in construction is seriously injured at work due to another individual’s negligence. Perhaps someone left nails out and a worker stepped on them, impairing his ability to walk the same temporarily or permanently. After this worker seeks medical attention, he decides that he wants to file a personal injury lawsuit. A  couple of months into his lawsuit, the construction worker dies due to his injury. This case can be treated like a wrongful death situation if it meets a few factors. There is statute called the survival statute. Most states apply this statute if a personal injury claim is filed before the victim passes, or if the family of the deceased wants to file a separate wrongful death lawsuit. This statute also keeps the deceased’s personal injury lawsuit open even after they die until it is resolved. This ensures that the victim’s family can retain any compensation given during the lawsuit. The family of the deceased may also file a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual or company at fault to receive further compensation to cover things like the funeral and medical bills.

From a Personal Injury Claim to a Wrongful Death Claim

Some states allow a personal injury claim to crossover into wrongful death claims directly after the victim dies. This is to make sure that family of the victim is cared for financially, as stated above. In any case in which a personal injury lawsuit turns into a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s survivors may receive the victim’s salary or any other type of income that they would have been provided with lest the victim had remained living, any medical bills, loss of companionship or expenses regarding the funeral costs. In situations where the the victim who passed was not employed at the time, the judge will look at their educational degrees and qualifications, any past income they have made, and any earnings they would have potentially made if they were alive. Then the judge will determine an amount to give to the victim’s family, because of the potential income that could have been made. Medical malpractices cases, car accidents, private plane injuries, dog bite accidents and any injuries that occur at a construction site are all common personal injury cases turned wrongful death cases.

Legal Options

If your loved one has passed and has an existing personal injury lawsuit out, consider contacting a wrongful death lawyer Fort Lauderdale FL residents frequently turn to who can help you determine if you have a case. It might even be necessary that you file a separate wrongful death claim, depending on your state.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Needle & Ellenberg, P.A., for their insight into wrongful death.