No one ever hopes to lose a family member or loved one. However, tragedy can strike unexpectedly. Everyday, people lose their life to incidents like car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, falls, and animal attacks.
These types of incidents wherein another person’s negligence led to someone’s death can be classified under ‘wrongful death’. This means that the victim’s death was unexpected and preventable, and means that their loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or someone you know has experienced a wrongful death in the state of Florida, they may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensation.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Florida?
Before you file a wrongful death claim in Florida, you must make sure your case meets these criteria:
- The death must be due to negligence on another party’s account.
- This negligence must have been the direct cause of the victim’s death.
- The victim’s death directly contributed to damages for surviving loved ones; i.e. medical bills, funerary expenses, or loss of income.
If these criteria have been met, you can begin the process of filing a wrongful death claim. By Florida law, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim. This person may be named in the victim’s will or estate plan. However, in cases where no personal representative is named, they will be appointed by the court.
After a personal representative is named, they will file a wrongful death claim on behalf of any surviving family members, including spouses, children, parents, or any relative who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”
Time limits for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida
Similar to most personal injury lawsuits in Florida, there is a statute of limitations imposed upon potential wrongful death lawsuits.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within 2 years of the date of death. Under very specific circumstances, however, that date may be extended. Working with a knowledgeable attorney will help you navigate the claim’s process and timeline to ensure you meet the correct filing date.
Filing your wrongful death claim within the allotted timeline is crucial – if you miss the deadline, you may be unable to receive rightful compensation.
The wrongful death lawsuit process
Unlike criminal cases, wrongful death lawsuits are civil cases, and do not require as much evidence to proceed in court. However, the evidence that is presented must meet the burden of proof, which is why it’s important to hire a wrongful death lawyer that can help you determine whether this need has been met.
After filing your wrongful death claim, you may be required to attend mediation with the liable party to try and reach a settlement. Most claims end up being settled outside of court, however, if a settlement cannot be reached, your case will proceed to trial.
Potential damages in Florida wrongful death lawsuits
Depending on how your settlement or trial goes, you may be eligible to receive damages that cover:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of wages
- Compensation for mental pain and suffering
Losing a family member or loved one is never easy, and especially so in the case of wrongful death. That’s why our Delray Beach personal injury attorney, Peter Porcaro, at Porcaro Law Group is there for you and your family.
If you have experienced a loss due to another person’s negligence, please contact our law office for a free consultation.