The emotional trauma of losing a loved one unexpectedly due to another’s actions is devastating, but the financial burden that often follows the loss can be just as overwhelming. Therefore, it’s essential that you speak with a knowledgeable Coral Springs wrongful death attorney immediately to discuss the specifics of who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida.
Often, the liable party initially denies guilt or attempts to reach a quick settlement with minimal payout. A compassionate and skilled personal injury attorney explains what to expect throughout the legal process, advises on the best course of action, and manages all communication on your behalf.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Florida Statute § 768.19 of the Florida Wrongful Death Act characterizes wrongful death as a fatal injury that occurred because of another’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” In essence, any negligent, reckless, or intentional act causing someone’s death constitutes a wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Coral Springs?
According to Florida Statute § 768.20, the only person who has the right to file a claim is the decedent’s personal representative, also known as an executor or administrator. This agent acts in support of the decedent’s survivors and estate.
Florida further specifies that only blood or adopted relatives who were financially and emotionally dependent on the deceased may be considered wrongful death beneficiaries, including:
- A surviving spouse
- Minor children under 25 years of age
- Adult children, 25 and older, if there is not a surviving spouse
- Parents of minor children
- Parents of an adult child, if there isn’t a surviving spouse or descendants
- Siblings, if there isn’t a spouse or descendant
The details of who may be included as a decedent’s survivor vary depending on the circumstances. An experienced Coral Springs wrongful death attorney can help determine your legal rights as an agent representing the best interests of the beneficiaries.
How Is Liability Determined in a Florida Wrongful Death Case?
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, you must establish that the wrongdoer’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions caused another’s death.
When people act with reckless disregard for others, they are or should be aware of the possibility that their actions could seriously harm or kill someone else. Reckless conduct may include:
- Car accidents and truck accidents caused by:
– Drunk driving
– Brake checking
– Cutting others off
– Following too closely
- Manufacturing a defective product with known design flaws
Individuals who fail to use reasonable care may be responsible for another’s wrongful death through negligence. Negligent conduct may include:
- Distracted driving
- Slip and fall accidents caused by inadequate property maintenance
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect
The representative may bring a wrongful death claim against someone who committed an intentional act against the decedent, such as a stabbing or shooting.
A wrongful death claim is tried in civil court, separate from a criminal court’s proceedings and decisions. An individual may be found not guilty in a criminal trial, for example, but held liable for wrongful death in a civil case.
What Are the Damages in a Coral Springs Wrongful Death Case?
As outlined in Florida Statute § 768.21, the decedent’s beneficiaries can claim compensatory damages in a civil case. In some situations, the court may also award punitive damages.
The two types of compensatory damages, economic and non-economic, are intended to compensate the decedent’s survivors for the losses suffered.
Economic compensatory damages repay you for the direct out-of-pocket costs you’ve incurred as the result of your loved one’s wrongful death. They may include:
- Hospital bills
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
Although not calculable with receipts, non-economic damages can be even more destructive to the decedent’s survivors. Examples of non-economic injuries include:
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of services and support
The court uses several factors to determine appropriate compensatory damages, including your relationship to the deceased.
When the court finds the defendant’s actions particularly abhorrent, it has the discretion to impose punitive damages over and above compensatory restitution. Courts intend to punish the wrongdoer and prevent others from engaging in similar actions. Blatant disregard may encompass:
- Intent to cause harm
- Indifference to another’s rights
- Acting in a manner that caused significant risk or injury to others
Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Per Florida Statute § 95.11 (4)(d), the designated representative generally has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death action. A Coral Springs personal injury attorney can help determine the timeline that applies to your situation.
Why Hire a Coral Springs Personal Injury Attorney?
An experienced personal injury attorney has expertise in wrongful death cases and comprehensively addresses your concerns, fields insurance company calls, conducts a thorough investigation, and communicates with industry professionals on your behalf. Contact Rosenberg Law Firm in Coral Springs to discuss your loved one’s wrongful death. Our attorneys will candidly evaluate your case’s strengths and challenges and offer a reasonable estimate of possible reparations.
Rosenberg Law Firm’s personal injury attorneys are dedicated to aggressively pursuing just compensation for our clients. Reach out today for a confidential, free evaluation of your unique circumstances.