Florida’s wrongful death statute ensures that individuals who wrongfully caused someone’s death are held responsible for their actions.
The law ensures that a deceased person’s survivors and loved ones receive fair compensation and financial remedy for the death of their loved one.
Under Florida law, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, wrongful act, or violation of a contract or warranty. A person may bring a civil suit for wrongful death and recover monetary damages.
Who May Bring a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, a deceased person’s personal representative must file a wrongful death lawsuit. That person acts on behalf of the deceased person’s survivors and the estate.
The deceased person’s will or testament usually designates a personal representative. If the deceased person has not designated a representative, the court will appoint one for the lawsuit.
Other parties may be able to recover damages for wrongful death if they can prove they were at least partly dependent on the deceased person at the time of his or her death.
Common Types of Florida Wrongful Death Claims
Common examples of wrongful death lawsuits include:
- Motor vehicle accidents resulting in death,
- Dangerous roadways or defective vehicles,
- Medical malpractice, and
- Intentional criminal actions.
A party may file a Florida wrongful death lawsuit whenever a person’s negligence or wrongful act results in another person’s death.
Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Damages
The Florida wrongful death statute specifies the beneficiaries who may receive damages awards from a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit must list all survivors of the deceased person who will receive compensation.
Individuals who may recover damages from a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The deceased person’s estate,
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse,
- The deceased person’s minor children, and
- The deceased person’s parents.
A deceased person’s survivors may recover damages for certain types of harm resulting from a person’s death. The types of damages a survivor may recover depend on his or her relationship to the deceased person.
For example, a surviving spouse may recover damages for the loss of the deceased person’s companionship and protection. Or a deceased person’s minor children may recover damages for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance.
Other types of recoverable damages include:
- The costs of support and services for the person injured until his or her death, with interest,
- Medical or funeral expenses,
- Mental pain or suffering as a result of the loss, and
- Lost income.
Courts consider certain factors when calculating a damages award, including the survivor’s relationship to the deceased person, and the survivor’s level of dependency upon the deceased person.
Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
To successfully file a wrongful death claim, Florida has a specific deadline or statute of limitations parties must meet or they risk losing their right to file a claim.
Under the Florida wrongful death statute of limitations, parties must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death in most cases.
You must know how to calculate the statute of limitations for your case. If the statute of limitations passes, you may lose all legal rights associated with a wrongful death claim. A qualified wrongful death attorney can help you determine when to file your claim.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Losing a loved one causes severe hardship, pain, and suffering.
The attorneys at Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon have over 100 years of experience representing and protecting our clients’ interests. Our dedicated staff will support you through this difficult time and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our team will thoroughly investigate your claim, explain your legal options, and diligently fight to protect your interests. Call our offices at 850-444-4878 to schedule a free consultation or fill out an online form today.