Seasoned Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers Fighting For the Rights of Fatal Accident Victims
When a person dies due to the negligence and/or misconduct of another, the victim’s surviving family members may file a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents, including auto-related accidents, product liability accidents and medical malpractice. Individuals, corporations and governmental agencies may be held liable for acting negligently or, in severe cases, intentionally acting in a way such that the wrongful death could easily have been avoided.
Plaintiffs in Wrongful Death Suits
Under Florida law, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate must file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and all the surviving family members who qualify for a claim. Typically, the personal representative is named in the deceased person’s will and/or estate plan. If the decedent died without first creating a will or estate plan, a Florida court will appoint a personal representative. Keep in mind that not every family member will qualify as a survivor in the wrongful death claim. Florida law dictates which family members may recover damages in a wrongful death claim. Consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine if you qualify as a survivor.
Defendants in Wrongful Death Suits
Common defendants in wrongful death suits include Florida businesses, government agencies and private individuals. For instance, if a death resulted from a driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, a wrongful death suit may include multiple defendants including the driver of the vehicle, the manufacturer and/or distributor of any defective component of the vehicle, the person(s) who served the drunk driver alcohol and/or the owner of the business where the alcohol was sold.
Damages in Wrongful Death Suits
Because wrongful death suits are civil claims, liability is expressed solely in terms of monetary damages. While a criminal case related to the wrongful death suit may also be filed simultaneously, most often it will not result in damages being distributed to surviving family members. Under Florida law, the personal representative acting on behalf of the decedent may seek monetary damages related to the loss of financial support the decedent had provided for his or her family, as well as loss of companionship, mental and emotional trauma caused by the decedent’s passing, medical/funeral expenses and the loss of potential wages.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
In the state of Florida, wrongful death claims generally must be filed within two years of the date of death. This timeline may be extended, but only under specific circumstances, which is one reason why it’s highly recommended that you consult an experienced wrongful death attorney familiar with Florida state law. Indeed, it is absolutely critical that you understand and follow the deadline established by the statute of limitations, as failure to do so may cause you to lose your right to file a wrongful death suit.