The loss of a loved one is never easy to handle, but it’s even harder when their death was untimely and caused by someone else. In the state of Florida, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death civil lawsuit if the death of a loved one was caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity.
But who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and how must it be done?
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
State law says the representative of the deceased person’s estate must bring the wrongful death suit. This person is appointed in the deceased’s will or estate plan, but if no person has been named, the court will appoint a representative.
The wrongful death suit will be filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate and surviving family members who were affected. In most cases, this will include the deceased’s spouse and children, but could also include other blood relatives or adoptive siblings who were dependent on the deceased for support.
How Are Damages Determined in a Wrongful Death Case in Florida?
A wrongful death case is brought in civil court, by the deceased’s representative against the accused party. It seeks the award of damages in the form of money. Any legal punishment against the party would occur in a separate criminal trial the state would have to bring.
In general, a wrongful death award could include money for:
- What the deceased would have been expected to provide to the people he or she was supporting, including lost wages
- A value for the loss of companionship, guidance and protection
- A value placed on the emotional pain and suffering
- Any medical and funeral expenses incurred as a result of the incident
- Projected loss value of the estate, based on the early death
When Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Case in Florida?
The good news is that you will have some time to grieve, as filing a wrongful death lawsuit is probably not the top thing on your mind after a loved one has passed away. In the state of Florida, you will have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. This will give you plenty of time to grieve, handle what you need to handle and consult with an attorney on the best way to proceed.
Seek Help and Guidance from an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney in Florida
If you’re dealing with the unexpected loss of a loved one due to the actions of another person, it’s important that you have an experienced lawyer on your side to help guide you through what will be an extremely emotional time in your life. Contact the attorneys at Fetterman & Associates for a free consultation by calling (561) 845-2510.