If you and your family have lost a loved one due to negligent or reckless actions of another party, your family may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses in a wrongful death claim. However, under Florida law, there are specific requirements for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, including restrictions on who may file the claim in court.
When you have questions about your and your family’s rights and options under Florida’s wrongful death statute, a wrongful death attorney can provide the answer you need and help you understand what steps you can take to recover the compensation and justice your family deserves.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim can be thought of as the legal claim that someone harmed by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or willful conduct could have brought had they survived the harm inflicted upon them. A wrongful death claim can allow a deceased person’s estate to recover compensation for the losses the decedent incurred prior to their death. More importantly, a wrongful death claim compensates the surviving family members of a deceased individual for the financial and emotional losses the family has suffered due to their loved one’s passing.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, a wrongful death claim may only be filed by the personal representative of the deceased individual. This person normally is the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. The personal representative files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members who have suffered loss due to their loved one’s death. In filing a wrongful death claim, the personal representative should identify the family members with an interest in the wrongful death claim, such as:
- A surviving spouse
- Surviving children or grandchildren (including legally adopted children or grandchildren)
- Surviving parents
- Any other surviving family members who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of the decedent’s passing
In Florida, the statute of limitations requires that a wrongful death lawsuit normally be filed within two years of the decedent’s passing. Only under limited circumstances will a court extend this two-year limitations period. Filing an untimely lawsuit risks having the court permanently dismiss the claim.
What Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In a wrongful death claim, the family of an individual whose death resulted from someone else’s negligence or recklessness or legal fault may be able to recover compensation for financial and personal/emotional losses suffered by both the decedent prior to their death as well as by the decedent’s surviving family members. A wrongful death award may include compensation for:
- Medical expenses incurred to treat the decedent’s last injuries or illness caused by another party’s conduct
- Lost wages or income from missed work between the decedent’s injury and death
- Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to their death
- Loss of the decedent’s future income and expected financial contributions to the family
- Loss of the value of the decedent’s services to the household
- Emotional trauma and suffering experienced by surviving family members
- Loss of the decedent’s care, companionship, society, advice, and guidance
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case in Florida
Did a loved one sustain fatal injuries in Florida? Don’t let the bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients in Coconut Creek, Plantation, Pompano Beach, and Pembroke Pines, and throughout Florida. Call (954) 525-2345 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, as well as offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, Coconut Creek, Plantation, and Pompano Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly