Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
If your loved one died due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another party, your family may be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial costs, loss of financial contributions the deceased would have provided, and other damages. For your claim to be successful, you will have to prove liability, causation, and damages. You will also have to follow strict legal proceedings.
For example, you will have to identify the personal representative of the deceased’s estate before bringing the action. In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits can only be brought by the personal representative.
If the victim made arrangements prior to passing, the associated probate documents should identify the personal representative. If, on the other hand, he or she died without a will, the court will have to appoint a personal representative instead.
Because the personal representative files the claim on behalf of the estate, he or she won’t actually be entitled to any compensation that results—unless he or she also happens to be an eligible beneficiary. In Florida, only certain relatives of the victim may recover damages in a wrongful death claim. Such parties include the surviving spouse, children, and parents. Blood relatives and adoptive siblings who depended on the deceased financially may also be entitled to some portion of the recovery.
How Long Does the Personal Representative Have to File Suit?
In Florida, the standard statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years. That means the personal representative typically has two years from the date of death to file suit.
Because there are a few exceptions to this filing deadline, though, it’s wise to consult an attorney about the situation as soon as possible. If your family has grounds for a claim against a government entity, for example, the personal representative must notify the appropriate agency in writing and then allow for a 180-day investigation before proceeding with the suit, which must still be filed within two years of the date when the cause of action accrued.
What Kinds of Damages Might Be Recoverable?
The primary purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate eligible beneficiaries for the losses they incurred. Following a wrongful death in Florida, damages that might be recoverable include:
- The value of services and support that the deceased provided the family;
- Loss of guidance, protection, and companionship;
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses;
- Medical expenses incurred while treating the deceased’s final injury or illness; and
- Lost wages, benefits, and anticipated inheritances.
If the victim was a child, the parents may also seek compensation for mental anguish and emotional distress.
Call 727-845-5972 to Speak with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Florida
If your loved one was a victim of wrongful death, contact Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers to determine the most strategic way to proceed. We will fight tenaciously for the compensation your family needs to put the pieces back together. Call 727-845-5972 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer in Florida.
The Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers are wrongful death attorneys serving New Port Richey, Trinity, Dade City and all of Pasco County