If your loved one died as the result of someone else’s negligence, your family will want justice. One way to accomplish this is to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. You may be wondering how your family can go about doing this. If so, it’s a good idea to reach out to a wrongful death attorney.
In this blog, we will explain what the Florida laws say about filing this type of lawsuit. We will also discuss the types of damages your family can receive if you prevail in your case.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Florida, a wrongful death case can be filed if your loved one dies in an accident. It doesn’t matter what kind of accident it is. As long as you can demonstrate that the person responsible for the accident was negligent, you’ll have a strong case.
Many wrongful death cases often involve motor vehicle accidents. However, there are other types of accidents that can result in the victim’s death. Some of these include:
- Car accidents
- Truck and motorcycle accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Defective medical devices
- Medical malpractice
If your family member has died in any of these accidents, you may be able to receive compensation.
What Are the Florida Wrongful Death Laws?
You have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. According to Florida Statute §95.11(4)(d), the two-year period starts on the day your loved one dies, not the date of their accident.
If your claim isn’t filed on time, you’ll be forever barred from pursuing the defendant. That’s one of the reasons you should consider hiring a wrongful death lawyer. They’ll make sure you meet these filing deadlines.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?
Florida Statute §768.20 dictates that only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. What this means is that neither you nor any other family member can file suit on behalf of your loved one.
The personal representative will sue on behalf of the victim’s family. Once the case settles, the proceeds will be distributed amongst the decedent’s heirs.
What if the Other Driver Also Passes Away?
One complication that may arise in a wrongful death case is if the defendant passes away. They may have passed away in the same car accident. Or they may have died due to some other factor.
If this happens, the representative handling your loved one’s claim would have to name the responsible party’s estate as the defendant.
Your wrongful death attorney would have to file suit against the estate and pursue any assets the other party had when they passed away.
What Kind of Damages Can Your Family Receive?
The point of filing for wrongful death is to recover damages from the person responsible for your loved one’s death. When the personal representative files suit, they’ll demand some or all of the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of support and services
- Lost inheritance
- Punitive damages
In addition to your wrongful death case, your family can also pursue what’s referred to as a survival action.
What Is a Survival Action?
A survival action is similar to a wrongful death claim. However, with this type of action, you are demanding the damages your loved one would have recovered had they survived.
In order to prevail in a survival action, you must show that your loved one was aware of their final injuries or illness. If they passed away immediately in a car accident, for example, your family won’t have the option of filing this type of suit.
Like a wrongful death action, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate must initiate a survival action. In the complaint, they can demand the following types of damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Pain and suffering
Contact a Trusted Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer
If your loved one was killed in an accident, you may have a claim for damages. One way to find out if your claim has merit is to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney. They will review your claim and help determine who can file the lawsuit on your behalf.