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A Wrongful Death case occurs when a person’s death is caused by the negligence of another person or company. Here in the state of Florida, the Florida Wrongful Death Act was designed to provide a form of justice for the family members of the victim. In the event a person is killed by the negligence of another person or company, their heirs and beneficiaries may file a wrongful death suit against the responsible party. This is considered a civil action, meaning it is separate from any pending criminal charges against the responsible party.
The state of Florida has specific rules governing wrongful death claims. Prior to filing a suit, there must be an established estate for the victim, with a personal representative. Claims have to be filed by the personal representative of the victim’s estate. This person is usually named in the victim’s will. If no such person exists, one will be appointed by the court.
When the suit is filed, it is filed on behalf of the victim’s surviving family members. When filling the claim, every surviving family member must be named in the claim. This also includes any family members who were dependents of the victim. The state of Florida gives the head of the estate two years to file the wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. Under certain, specific circumstances, this deadline may be extended, but due to the rarity of this, we encourage individuals to file within the allotted two-year timeframe.
The goal of the wrongful death claim is to recover the total value lost (in support and services), with interest, for the family members listed in the claim. When taking this value in to consideration, the court considers each survivor’s relationship to the victim. Other damages that may be available include:
- Loss of companionship, protection, and pain and suffering for the spouse
- Loss of parental companionship
- Loss of instruction and guidance
- Pain and suffering for minor children
- Mental pain and suffering for surviving parents of minor children
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
Contact our firm today at (850) 580-1LAW (1529) to schedule your FREE initial consultation.