The Laws Regarding Wrongful Death Claims
Compassionate Attorney Fighting for Families of Victims of Wrongful Death in West Palm Beach, Sunrise, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Areas
A wrongful death claim is a civil action brought against a defendant when they cause the death of another. In Florida, you can file a wrongful death action against someone, but only if you qualify based on the statute. Also, the laws regarding wrongful death claims in the state are highly involved.
Therefore, it is best to consult with a wrongful death attorney before taking any legal action. Florida has strict rules regarding damages and which parties can file a suit. Also, there is a statute of limitations, which reduces how long you have to file your claim.
What Statute Applies to Florida Wrongful Death Claims?
Florida Statute Section 768.19 governs how wrongful death claims are handled in the state. Per the statute, a wrongful death is when a person’s death is caused by negligence, a wrongful act, default, or a breach of contract.
Florida courts allow wrongful death actions as a legal remedy for the death and any financial losses that result from the death only.
Florida statutes limit who can file a wrongful death action. A personal representative must file on behalf of the deceased’s estate. The representative is often the same individual named in the deceased’s estate plan. If a loved one dies intestate (without an estate plan), then the court elects a personal representative to handle the estate.
While the personal representative is the party filing the lawsuit, they are doing so on behalf of the deceased’s estate. The representative must list all eligible family members who have an interest in the case as part of the lawsuit. Family members that can stake interest in the claim are limited by the statute as well.
The following parties can hold an interest in the outcome of a claim:
- Blood relative or adoptive sibling dependent on the deceased for support or services
Familial relationships are much more complicated than this, however. For example, an unmarried couple with a child can significantly complicate which party is entitled to compensation after a loved one dies in a wrongful act incident.
The Statute of Limitations for Florida Wrongful Death Cases
Under Florida statutes, you are limited to filing your wrongful death action within two years of the date of death per Florida Statute Section 95.11(4)(d).
Your deadline can postpone past the two-year mark, but only under specific situations. It is best to consult with an attorney long before the two-year mark arrives to ensure you are within the statute, but also to see if your case qualifies for an extension.
What Damages Can You Receive in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida courts severely limit what damages you can receive in a wrongful death case. Unlike other personal injury actions, Florida Statute Section 768.21 lays out the rules for awarding damages. Surviving family members in the estate can only receive the following types of damages:
- Value of services or support the deceased would have provided;
- Loss of companionship and protection from the deceased;
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering;
- Medical expenses resulting from the incident;
- Funeral and burial costs, but within reason.
The estate may also recover damages that include a prospective net income amount, lost wages and benefits, and medical expenses paid by the estate directly.
Speak with a Florida Wrongful Death Advocate
The loss of a loved one is financially and emotionally devastating. You go through an array of emotions, including sadness, hatred, anger, and more. Your feelings are entirely justified, and the team at the Law Offices of Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A completely understand what you are going through.
We offer our legal team to you, and your grieving loved ones. While we know that no dollar amount makes up for the loss of a family member, the compensation you receive will help you get back on your feet financially.
To explore your options for compensation, schedule a free case evaluation with our attorneys at 954-807-1334 or contact us online to get started.