A representative for the decedent’s estate can sue for wrongful death in Florida. The representative can be someone appointed in the decedent’s Will, or a bank, trust company, and certain relatives. The representative will act on behalf of specific family members. In most cases, that will include the decedent’s parents, spouse, and children. These family members will receive any resulting wrongful death damages.
The decedent’s marital status and their relation to other family members may allow other relatives to sue for wrongful death. Our wrongful death lawyer can help you understand your role in seeking compensation for the loss of a loved one. They will also ensure you understand which members of the family can sue for wrongful death.
Florida Allows Certain Parties To Act As the Decedent’s Representative
In Florida, only the decedent’s personal representative can sue for wrongful death. Sometimes, the decedent will have already chosen who should act as their representative. This would be included in their Will.
In the case of wrongful death, a decedent may not have their Will prepared. In this case, the following parties may be chosen to act as the personal representative:
- A bank
- A trust company
- A person who is related to the decedent by blood, marriage, or adoption
To serve as an estate representative, you must:
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be mentally and physically capable of performing the representative’s duties
- Have no felony charges
An attorney from our firm can help the representative understand which family members qualify to receive any wrongful death damages.
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What Compensation Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Action?
When another person’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness is responsible for causing your loved one’s demise, your family can seek compensation. According to Florida Statutes § 768.21, recoverable damages include:
- Accident and injury-related medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of your loved one’s income
- Loss of their familial contributions
- Your mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Your lawyer will review your recoverable damages with you to ensure accuracy. They will also ensure the appropriate filing deadline is met.
How Long Does My Family Have To Sue the At-Fault Party?
Regardless of who acts as the estate representative, the state of Florida determines the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit. According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d), you generally have two years to file your lawsuit.
If your lawsuit is not filed on time, the court will not allow you to file it at all. If you manage to file it late, it will likely be dismissed without its merits being heard. Either of these outcomes means you will have no legal way to compel the at-fault party to compensate you.
A Florida wrongful death attorney will understand the statute of limitations including how and why it might change. They can help you get your lawsuit filed on time.
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Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer or Can I Negotiate a Settlement on My Own?
While you can try to reach a settlement with the at-fault party on your own, there are many benefits you gain by hiring a wrongful death attorney. On your behalf, they will:
- Thoroughly investigate your loved one’s demise
- Compile all relevant paperwork and documents
- Search for supporting photos and video footage
- Meet with the liable party’s legal team or insurer
- Explain complex legal terminology and jargon
- Provide updates on the progress of your case
Your lawyer will negotiate a fair monetary settlement for you. If one cannot be reached, they will represent you in court and keep fighting for an outcome.
How Much Does it Cost To Hire a Lawyer?
It costs nothing upfront or out of your own pocket to hire an attorney. Most wrongful death attorneys in Florida will work with you on a contingency-fee basis. Instead of hourly fees, they will accept a percentage of your settlement or verdict. The law firm will review their specific percentage with you.
The law firm’s fee is contingent on the financial outcome of your case. If your case does not result in a financial award, you will not owe them any fees.
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How Does the State of Florida Define Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death lawsuits are governed by many Florida laws. According to Florida Statutes § 768.19, your loved one’s demise is deemed wrongful if it was caused by:
- A wrongful act
- Breach of contract
- Breach of warranty
Our law firm will review your case and determine whether you have a valid wrongful death case in Florida. They will also explain the steps they will take to prove your family’s right to financial compensation.
Contact Our Case Review Team Today
At Andrew Pickett Law, PLLC, you have my deepest condolences for your family’s loss. I am also committed to helping your family understand the damages you are entitled to recover.
Contact our experienced team of paralegals to get started with a free review of your family’s case today.
Call or text 321-503-4014 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form