Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits brought to court when someone’s direct act or negligence causes the death of another person. Each state has their own laws regarding how claims are filed, as well as for who qualifies as eligible recipients of compensation. The state of Florida also has their own limitations on how long surviving family members have to file their wrongful death claim. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, it is important that you speak to a wrongful death attorney right away. An attorney can help you explore your options and help you understand your rights under Florida law.
Wrongful death claims are addressed in Florida Statutes section 678.18. This law states that if a person’s death is caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract” of another individual, the surviving members of the estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File?
To file a lawsuit, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate must initiate the claim. This representative is someone who has been named in the estate plan or an individual who has been appointed by the court.
While the claim itself is filed by the personal representative, that claim can be filed on behalf of all surviving family members affected by the loss of their loved one. The representative is required to list every surviving family member who has an interest in the case. These family members can include the surviving spouse, children, parents, and relatives who depended on the deceased for support.
Statute of Limitations Regarding Wrongful Death Claims
There is a set time limit on how long a personal representative has to file a wrongful death claim. In the state of Florida, the claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. This date may be postponed under specific circumstances; however, for the majority of wrongful death claims, the limit is two years.
Damages That May Be Collected
The damages in a wrongful death claim are not the same as if the individual were still alive. Monetary damages are awarded to the surviving family members in accordance with Florida Statute section 768.21. The rules state that some surviving family members can receive damages for:
- Medical and funeral expenses that surviving family members have paid since the passing of their loved one
- Mental and emotional suffering due to the loss of a child
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Lost wages, earnings, and benefits that the deceased individual would have contributed had they lived
- Loss of any prospective net accumulations for the estate
The Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death is the term used for any time a death occurs due to negligence, deliberate behavior, or recklessness. To establish that the case has a valid wrongful death claim, there must be proof that the at-fault individual had a duty of care to the deceased and breached that duty. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Drunk driving
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney at Vasilaros | Wagner
Because wrongful death claims are highly complex, surviving family members should seek counsel from a Florida wrongful death attorney. If you have lost a loved one and you think you have a valid wrongful death claim, contact the Daytona wrongful death attorneys at Vasilaros | Wagner for a no obligation case evaluation. Call an attorney now at 386-777-7777 or complete an online contact form.