Florida Wrongful Death Claims: What You Need To Know
Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits that are legally filed and taken to court by the estate of a deceased person whose death was due to the negligence or wrongful actions of one or more others. Criminal cases may also be filed separately, and may be filed at the same time.
In Florida, Florida statutes chapter 768 details much of the law regarding negligence and damages, while Florida statutes chapter 95 discusses the amount of time (known as the “statute of limitations”) that is legally allowed to file this type of lawsuit.
Time is an important factor here. Generally speaking, wrongful death lawsuits in Florida must be filed within a two-year time period from the date of death. There are few exceptions to this law, so consulting with an attorney at the earliest possible time is not only beneficial to any potential case, but also crucial. Seeking assistance too late can result in an inability to file a wrongful death claim lawsuit and recover damages.
In wrongful death cases, a personal representative is assigned to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and also on behalf of any surviving family members of the deceased. In cases where the deceased individual had a will or another form of legally allowable documentation naming a personal representative, that person is permitted to file the wrongful death claim. In cases where there is no will or other legally allowable documentation, the court will appoint a personal representative.
Generally speaking, family members who are able to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents and any blood relative or adopted sibling who was provably dependent on the deceased individual for support or services. Unfortunately, however, Florida law limits who can recover damages in certain instances. This will be covered in a future blog.
Damages that legally allowed survivors of the deceased are allowed to receive are based on a number of situations, including:
– Emotional pain and suffering
– Support and services provided by the deceased when he/she was alive
– Loss of consortium (companionship and related scenarios)
– Medical and funeral expenses
Damages may also be recovered by the estate, including:
– Lost wages or earnings of the estate, or benefits
– Lost value of anticipated earnings if the death had not occurred
Meeting with an experienced Florida Wrongful Death lawyer for an initial consultation is an important step. Doing so will help clarify if a potential case can and should be filed. Research information about lawyers who specialize in Miami & South Florida Wrongful Death cases, or if possible, who specialize in the particular type of case you are dealing with.
Many lawyers and legal teams offer free initial consultations. At Mallard & Sharp, P.A., we specialize in Miami Florida Wrongful Death cases. To schedule a free initial consultation with our expert legal team call 877.662.5527 or 305.461.4800.