Losing a loved one is a tragic event for any family, and it’s even worse if your loved one has passed away because of the carelessness of another person or company. Although no amount of money can ever replace a deceased family member, Florida law does allow you to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation (damages) for the loss of your loved one.
Following are five important things to know about wrongful death claims:
The Personal Representative Files the Claim
In Florida, individual family members do not file a wrongful death claim. Instead, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, who may or not be a family member, files a wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members. The personal representative is either named in the will or estate plan or appointed by the Probate Court.
Not All Family Members Are Eligible for Compensation
When a family member dies due to the wrongful acts of another in Florida, the spouse, children, and parents may be eligible to recover monetary compensation. In addition, if other blood relatives or adopted siblings relied on the deceased for financial support or other services, they may also be eligible for compensation. A qualified wrongful death attorney can help you understand your rights.
Specific Types of Damages May Be Awarded
Damages are monetary awards designed to compensate surviving family members for their losses. In Florida, wrongful death damages may include:
- Compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and other related costs
- Compensation for the loss of wages, benefits, and inheritances the deceased would have provided for the family
- Compensation for the loss of companionship, love, care, and guidance the deceased would have provided to family members.
Certain Elements Are Required to Prove Your Case
In order to prevail in a wrongful death claim, you have to prove that negligence (a wrongful act) on the part of the defendant (the at-fault person or entity) caused your loved one’s death. To prove negligence, you must show that:
- The defendant owed a legal duty to the deceased
- The defendant’s action or failure to act violated that duty
- As a result of that violation, your loved one died
- As a result of the death, the decedent’s beneficiaries and estate suffered losses
The Time to File a Wrongful Death Suit Is Limited
Every state has laws—known as statutes of limitations—that limit the time you have to file a lawsuit. In Florida, you generally have two years from the death of your loved one to file a wrongful death claim, but there are exceptions that can change that timeframe. It is very important to contact an experienced wrongful death as soon as possible because if you miss the filing deadline, you may be barred from recovering damages.
Has Your Loved One Died Due To The Negligence Of Others?
If your loved one died due to someone else's negligence you need to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Coral Springs office directly at 954.755.7803 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly serve Florida residents including all of Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County and all points in between.