Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
If your relative died because another party failed to act with reasonable care, your family may have grounds for a wrongful death suit. In order to pursue compensation for the associated damages, though, you’ll have to abide by strict rules from day one.
For example, regardless of the circumstances, the case must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. If the victim left behind a will, its terms should include the name of said representative.
If the victim died intestate, on the other hand, a judge will order someone to take on the role. Once they do, your family may proceed with the claim.
It’s worth noting that the personal representative doesn’t actually seek funds for his or her own benefit. Instead, he or she acts on behalf of the estate and its eligible beneficiaries, which may include the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. Of course, if the representative falls under one of these categories, he or she may be entitled to some or all of the compensation that results.
What Kinds of Damages May Be Recoverable in Successful Wrongful Death Suits?
When a wrongful death case yields a payout, the funds are typically distributed between the estate as a whole and eligible beneficiaries as individuals. Damages that may be awarded to the estate include:
- Lost earnings and benefits;
- Medical bills; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Damages that may be awarded to individuals, on the other hand, include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of guidance, protection, companionship, and instruction;
- Lost support and services; and
- Medical and funeral expenses that they covered out of pocket.
How Long Do Families Have to Take Action Following a Wrongful Death in Florida?
In the Sunshine State, the typical statute of limitations for wrongful death actions is two years. That means the personal representative usually has two years from the date on which the victim passed to bring the case to court.
If it wasn’t immediately apparent that the death could have been prevented, though, the filing deadline can be extended. In such a scenario, the statute of limitations typically becomes two years from the date on which the cause of action was discovered (or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence).
Must like other statutes, however, this filing deadline has a number of exceptions. As such, it’s wise to consult a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. If it turns out an exception applies to your case, you may have considerably less time to take your case to court if the liable party proves uncooperative during the settlement negotiations.
Call 772-266-5555 for a Free Consultation with a Stuart Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one’s death could have been prevented, turn to Donaldson & Weston to see if your family has grounds for action. Our team is comprised of smart, compassionate, and experienced litigators who have a good reputation in the legal field. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer.