Florida Statutes § 768.19 notes that wrongful death is when someone passes away because of another party’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” The law says that if the decedent had survived their injuries, they would have grounds for a personal injury case.
Wrongful death cases can arise from many situations, from collisions to falls. You could partner with a Florida wrongful death lawyer if you lost a loved one due to another party’s actions. They can manage your case while you spend time with your family.
What To Know About Florida Wrongful Death Cases
You generally have two years to file your wrongful death case, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d). Your case’s filing deadline begins from the date of your loved one’s passing. Still, Florida Statutes § 95.051 notes that some exceptions could give you more or less time to act. For instance, if you lost a loved one in a hit-and-run accident, the state could pause your filing deadline until after the at-fault party is located.
Who Can Be Liable in a Wrongful Death Case?
Liability for a wrongful death case depends on what caused the death. For instance, if a motorist drove while intoxicated and caused a fatal accident, they would be liable for any damages they caused. The same would go for any government agency, product manufacturer, or another entity with an obligation to keep people safe.
You Could Recover Various Damages After Losing a Loved One
Florida does not limit how much compensation you can seek via a wrongful death action. This means there is no limit to what you can request from the liable party in your demand letter. Recoverable damages in a wrongful death case include:
- Medical bills. Your loved one may have required medical care before their passing, such as medications and life support. A claim or lawsuit can provide reimbursement for these expenses.
- Lost income. Your loved one may have been their family’s primary source of income. You may have also taken time off work to address your grief. A settlement could grant compensation for your lost tips, bonuses, and other employment-related losses.
- Property damage costs. If your loved one passed away in a collision, compensation could account for the cost of replacing or fixing their vehicle.
- Funeral expenses. Funerals can easily cost thousands of dollars. You deserve to lay your loved one to rest without having to cut costs. You could recover damages for the casket, embalming, burial plot, and plot upkeep.
- Various non–economic damages. Losing a loved one does more than affect your finances––it also affects your mental health and personal well-being. Compensable non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of parental guidance.
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Only Certain Parties Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida
Florida law notes that only a personal representative of the decedent’s estate can initiate legal action. This person is usually named in the decedent’s can. If not, then the court can appoint one. The decedent’s personal representative could be a family member. Yet, this is not always the case.
The personal representative seeks compensation for the decedent’s beneficiaries, such as their spouse or children. A wrongful death lawyer can examine your situation and determine who can take legal action.
You Can Partner with a Wrongful Death Lawyer on Your Case
You have every right to partner with an injury lawyer after losing a loved one to negligence. They can manage everything your case requires, including:
Investigating Your Loved One’s Passing
Your case needs supporting information to succeed. Such information can include:
- Your loved one’s medical records
- All invoices and receipts related to your damages
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- The accident report
- Forensic evidence
- Information from supporting field experts
The evidence you need to support your case depends on its circumstances.
Filing Your Insurance Claim
After identifying the liable party, your lawyer can file your wrongful death claim and negotiate a settlement. Filing a claim involves:
- Communicating with the claims adjuster
- Understanding your damages’ cost
- Sending your demand letter
- Reviewing the applicable policy
- Proving fault and negligence
Your lawyer can also protect you from bad-faith insurance practices. These are tactics some insurers employ to derail valid claims.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit
Most Florida wrongful death claims are resolved via insurance settlements. However, there are many reasons why filing a lawsuit could benefit your situation. For instance, your lawyer may consider filing a lawsuit if the other party refuses to settle.
Filing a lawsuit involves taking depositions, presenting evidence, and applying state law to your case.
Connect With Andrew Pickett Law for More Information
If you have questions about what constitutes wrongful death in Florida, connect with our legal team today. Our lawyer and paralegals can address your questions and explain your options. Call today to learn more.