Who can file a wrongful death claim in Florida?
Losing a loved one in a split second is one of the most devastating things you may endure in your life. Whether it be a fatal car crash, a disorienting slip and fall, a run-in with another person or animal, or as a result of a medical mistake, you may be able to seek compensation for all that you’ve lost.
It can be difficult to think about much after such a troubling, life-changing experience, but it may be beneficial to seek out your legal options if your loved one died as a result of negligence or substandard care. Financial compensation would cover things such as funeral costs, lost future income or benefits on behalf of your loved one, and pain and suffering you’re dealing with as a result of his or her death.
Once you’ve made the decision to seek legal advice, there are a few things you should know before you start the process.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed following the death of a loved one. If the individual died as a result of negligence, breach or default of a contract or warranty of other kinds on the part of another individual or company, you may be eligible to sue for financial compensation. A good rule of thumb: If the individual who was killed would have been eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit as a result of the incident, then you are likely eligible to file a wrongful death suit.
In Florida, wrongful death claims are governed by the Wrongful Death Act (786.16). Under this law, only certain individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased person. These individuals include:
- Blood relatives or adopted siblings who were dependent on the individual; and
- Children born out of wedlock, in certain circumstances.
What can I expect to recover as a result of a wrongful death lawsuit?
If you fall under one of the categories of surviving kin as laid out by the Florida Wrongful Death Act, you can file suit to recover damages. What exactly does that mean? These are the types of things you can expect you would be financially compensated for as a result of the death of your loved one:
- Past medical expenses;
- Funeral costs;
- Loss of income and earnings from the time your loved one died;
- Loss of support and/or services;
- Future loss of support and or/or services;
- If the deceased is your spouse, you can file for your loss of companionship, love and protection;
- Children’s loss of companionship, parental guidance and additional mental pain and suffering; and
- Pain and suffering for all kin affected by the loss of a loved one.
How long can I wait to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, in most cases, is two years. It’s important to consider this when you are mulling over the decision to bring legal action.
Have you suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of negligence?
If you’ve lost a loved one and believe you may be able to recover financial compensation, contact the lawyers at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We have more than 40 years experience working on these cases and will bring you the best, most compassionate counsel available.