In Florida, an average of 42.7 per every 100,000 people are victims of an accidental fatality, a number that is constantly on the rise. Florida specifically created a Wrongful Death Act to protect the loved ones of those that who are killed due to another person’s negligence.
When is a Wrongful Death Claim applicable?
Florida Statutes §768.18 states that when a person’s death “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another person or some other entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida’s courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from it.
Am I eligible to sue for damages in a wrongful death claim?
Florida Statute §768.20 law requires the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death claim. The personal representative may be named in the deceased person’s will or estate plan. If there is no will or estate plan, the personal representative will be appointed by the court.
I’m not the personal representative of my deceased loved one’s estate, am I still entitled to recover for damages?
Although the wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative, it is filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members. In the wrongful death claim, the personal representative must list every survivor who has an interest in the case.
Family members who may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case include: the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents, and any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”
If a child is born to unmarried parents, the child can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. If the child’s father dies, however, the child can only recover damages if the father had formally recognized the child as his own and was obligated to contribute to the support of the child.
How much time do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
The general rule is that a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the misconduct that caused the death of the victim.
Under Florida Law, for what damages am I entitled to recover?
Under the Act, there are seven key things allowed:
- The living spouse can recover damages – including pain and suffering as well as the loss of companionship for losing a spouse.
- A living spouse can also recover the value of any lost services and loss of economic support – especially if the deceased was the primary income earner or the head of the household.
- Other blood relatives that depended on the deceased can also collect compensation for the loss of those services and financial support. That means that children and adopted children can receive compensation.
- Living children under the age of 25 are also allowed to collect intangible damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of parental companionship.
- If the deceased was employed at the time of their death, the income and assets that they would have accumulated during their lifetime (had they not passed) is eligible for compensation under the Act. Therefore, the surviving family members can collect damages for those lost accumulations on behalf of the estate.
- The estate can recover costs for medical bills that were a direct result of the responsible party’s negligence.
- The estate or family can recover any costs for funeral and/or burial expenses that were the result of the deceased’s passing.
Who can help me with my wrongful death claim?
We can! If you or someone you know has lost a loved one due to the fault of another, call the Friedland Law Group today! The attorneys at the Friedland Law Group have extensive experience and knowledge in the field of personal injury and wrongful death, allowing them to work well with clients and opponents alike to get the compensation you deserve for accidents and injuries.
The South Florida personal injury attorneys at the Friedland Law Group handle all types of negligence, product liability, personal injury, negligent security, slip/trip and fall, and car accident cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. The Friedland Law Group handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls, negligent and reckless drivers, and automobile and motorcycle accidents. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys today and let our family take care of your family.