3 FAQs About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida

There’s no way to make up for the loss of a loved one. When a close friend or family member dies, it often serves as a cruel reminder that everyone is utterly irreplaceable.

With that in mind, you may be wondering what purpose a wrongful death action could possibly have. After all, no amount of money can fill the void left in the wake of a devastating loss.

Once you consider the financial impact of an unanticipated death, though, it becomes clear how filing a claim could be worthwhile. With the right legal strategy, it may be possible to recover funds for virtually all the losses associated with the death.

If your loved one died in some kind of preventable accident and you’re thinking about taking action in an effort to protect your family’s financial security, here’s what you should know before getting started:

1. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in Florida?

Dozens of people might grieve an unexpected loss, but only one party is actually entitled to file the associated wrongful death claim. Pursuant to Florida Statute Section 768.20, the action must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.

If the deceased wrote a last will, they probably assigned the role to someone, and it should be included in the document. If they died without a will—or if the party they named is unwilling or unable to step up—the court will choose someone to serve as the personal representative.

2. What Kinds of Damages Can You Seek by Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

Florida tort law splits wrongful death damages into two categories. There are the damages that are awarded to the victim’s surviving loved ones and then there are those that the estate can recover.

The former can seek compensation for lost support and services, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, medical bills, and funeral expenses. The latter, on the other hand, is entitled to funds for lost earnings, loss of anticipated investments, and any funeral expenses that the survivors did not cover themselves.

3. How Long Do You Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Action in Florida?

If the liable party’s insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, filing a formal lawsuit may be the only way for the personal representative to seek the compensation that the family deserves. They’re going to have to proceed before the applicable deadline has passed, though, or the court will likely dismiss their case.

Florida’s usual statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is two years. There are a few exceptions that can shorten or extend this deadline, however, so it’s advisable to call a lawyer and get your case underway as soon as possible.

Speak with a Stuart Wrongful Death Attorney

At Donaldson and Weston, we’re determined to right the wrongs that have left our clients struggling. If you lost a loved one to another party’s negligence, we’ll help you take the steps needed to seek justice. Call 772-266-5555 or submit the Contact Form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in Stuart.