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A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit which is brought in front of the court when one party’s negligent conduct causes the death of someone else. Wrongful death is governed by Florida Statute 768.19 and states in relevant part that when a person’s death “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract” of another person, the estate may bring a lawsuit in civil court in Florida seeking a legal remedy for the death and whatever damages flow from it.
Who can bring a claim for wrongful death?
You may be wondering who has the right to bring a wrongful death claim in Florida. The personal representative will have to file the claim for wrongful death. This personal representative is typically named in the will or estate plan and if none exists, the court will appoint one. This wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative on behalf of the estate and/or any surviving members of the family. Every person who is a survivor who has a claim must be named. As far as family members who can make a claim, the deceased person’s husband or wife, their children and the deceased persons parents all have a valid claim. In addition, any blood relative or adopted sibling who relied on the decedent for support can also bring a valid claim.
What do you have to prove in a wrongful death case?
You will have to be able to prove certain things when it comes to a wrongful death claim. You must be able to show that the other party acted in a negligent manner, that the death was caused by the other party, and that there were damages which resulted. When it comes to the other party being negligent, you must be able to show that the other party acted outside the realm of what a reasonable person would have done under similar conditions.
Do you have to bring a wrongful death claim in a certain amount of time?
There are certain time limits you have to follow when bringing a claim for wrongful death. These time limits only allow you to bring a claim for a certain amount of time following the death and are known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, the claim for wrongful death must be filed within two years of the death. The timeline can be tolled or extended under select circumstances.
What sort of damages can you recoup in a wrongful death case?
The damages for a wrongful death case, which are outlined in Florida Statutes section 768.21, allow for the surviving family to receive the following:
The surviving family member can recoup for the value of support and services which the deceased person provided
The deceased person’s loss of companionship, guidance and protection
If the loss was a child, the parents and family can sue for mental and emotional pain and suffering
You can also sue for recovery of any medical or funeral expenses that were paid on behalf of the deceased
Loss of future earnings and/or lost wages
Should you get an attorney involved?
Wrongful death cases are very complex and can get very confusing very quick to a layperson. Having an attorney on your side who knows how to properly file a wrongful death case is key. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group stand ready and willing to step in and assist if you or someone you know was killed due to someone else’s negligence. We can be reached at 727-933-0015. The longer you wait to file a wrongful death case the more it could impact your potential claim. Do not wait, call now. Our consultations are always free.