Losing a loved one can bring about challenging and emotional times.
However, if your loved one passed away due to another’s negligence, intentional act, or omission, this can add a layer of stress and anxiety.
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, it may ease some of the pressure and financial burden.
If you believed your loved one suffered a wrongful death, you have legal options.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death typically occurs when a loved one dies as a result of someone’s negligence or intentional act. According to the Florida Statutes section 768.19, the following causes of death may allow the surviving person’s family to seek a wrongful death suit:
- Wrongful act,
- Default, or
- Breach of contract.
Wrongful death is unique, and every situation is different. Consult with your wrongful death attorney if you believe you may have the basis for a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate will need to file the wrongful death claim. The decedent’s will may name a personal representative, but if no one is named, the court can appoint one.
While the personal representative files the wrongful death suit, the interested parties are the deceased person’s immediate family. These individuals include:
- Children, and
Individuals that are dependent on the decedent may also appear in the lawsuit.
Proving Wrongful Death
To have a wrongful death claim, certain elements must be satisfied. These elements include:
- The negligent party owed the deceased a duty of care;
- The negligent party breached this duty of care;
- The breach caused the death; and
- The breach resulted in damages.
Your attorney will collect all necessary evidence to prove the other party’s fault for your wrongful death claim.
What Damages Can Be Collected?
Generally, in a wrongful death claim, you may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages. Section 768.21 of the Florida Statutes provides details on specific damages that you can seek in wrongful death claims.
Economic damages are easily assigned a monetary value. They include:
- Medical bills,
- Funeral expenses,
- Loss of future support, and
- Loss of future services.
Your attorney will collect all supporting documents to calculate economic damages.
Non-economic damages are not as easy to calculate as economic damages. These damages include:
- Mental pain and suffering;
- Loss of guidance; and
- Loss of companionship.
Documentation, as well as testimony, can help calculate non-economic damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
A statute of limitations imposes a strict time limit on your ability to file your wrongful death claim. The statute of liability for wrongful death claims in Florida is two years from the date of death.
If the two-year time limit runs out, you will lose your ability to file your claim and collect damages.
Get an Opinion on Your Case
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, discuss your case with a qualified Florida wrongful death attorney.
Before filing your claim, your attorney will review the details of your case to ensure that a wrongful death did occur and you are eligible to bring the case forward.
Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon has worked alongside clients to seek the justice they deserve for over 100 years. We treat every client with care and compassion and realize no two cases are alike.
Our team’s passion and dedication translate into fierce representation and long-lasting relationships with our clients. Contact us today, and let’s discuss your case.