Wrongful Death Lawyers: Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Miami
Whether due to negligence, recklessness, or an intentional act, wrongful death is a devastating experience for families and loved ones. Having a wrongful death lawyer from Mallard & Sharp can lessen the trauma associated with the mental, emotional, and financial stresses that are being faced during this unbelievably difficult time.
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.
What Parties Can Bring a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, the law states that the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must file the wrongful death claim. A personal representative is generally named in the deceased person’s legally developed will or estate plan. In the event a person dies without a will, his or her estate is referred to as being “intestate.” It is important to note that a legally recognized will in Florida requires the signatures of two witnesses in order to be valid. It also needs a named personal representative who is a spouse, an individual (including a relative) who lives in Florida, or a direct blood relative living elsewhere. In cases in which a person dies and no personal representative has been legally designated, one will be appointed by the court. And while the personal representative is the one required to file the wrongful death claim, he or she is actually filing on behalf of the deceased’s estate and legally qualified surviving family members, which include1:
– The spouse, children, and parents of the deceased individual, and
– Any blood relative or adoptive brother or sister who is partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, and
– A child born out of wedlock of the mother, but not a child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.
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.
If a loved one has died due to the negligence of another, contacting an experienced lawyer for an initial consultation is an important step. At Mallard & Sharp, P.A., we specialize in a wide variety of cases, including wrongful death. To schedule a free initial consultation with our expert legal team call 877.662.5527 or 305.461.4800.