Filing a Lawsuit Against the Person Responsible for a Loved One’s Death
It is tragic to lose a loved one in an accident, especially because of someone’s deliberate actions or negligence. When a person is killed as a result of the deliberate, willful or negligent actions of another, the surviving family members may be eligible to seek financial compensation from those responsible for the death through a wrongful death action according to Florida tort law.
A wrongful death lawsuit must first prove the party is at fault, and that the action or inaction of the party caused the death of the victim. Once fault is established, the lawsuit asks the judge to order financial damages that include the lost wages the person would have earned had they not been killed, among other things. A wrongful death lawyer from our firm with experience in this specific type of case can discuss the details with you and determine whether it is in your best interests to pursue a lawsuit.
Wrongful death actions in Florida can be complicated since only certain people can seek damages on the wrongful death of a loved one, and depending on their relationship to the decedent, certain people can only seek a limited amount of damages, or are limited in the type of damages that they may seek. An experienced wrongful death lawsuit attorney can help you determine what steps to take and whether or not you have a valid claim to pursue.
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death In Florida?
There are two groups of wrongful death claimants in Florida: personal representatives of the estate and survivors.
- Personal representative of the estate. A personal representative of the estate is someone who is designated in the decedent’s will or estate plan, but can also be appointed by the court. This person must bring wrongful death actions on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family members.
- Survivors include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents and blood relatives including adopted brothers and sisters when these relatives are dependent upon the decedent.
There are a number of restrictions and limitations, especially on children and parents of the decedent, in terms of when these survivors can collect damages for a wrongful death of their loved one. A wrongful death attorney with experience pursing settlements for claimants can work with you to determine whether you are an eligible surviving family member and what damages you may seek for the wrongful death of the victim.
Damages for Wrongful Death
There are a number of damages that can be sought in a wrongful death case. For instance, surviving family members can seek damages including:
- Loss of companionship, guidance, or protection provided by the decedent.
- Support and services provided by the decedent.
- Medical expenses prior to the death.
- Funeral expenses for the decedent.
- Damages for mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of the loved one.
The estate of the decedent can also seek damages for:
- Lost wages, benefits, etc. that the decedent could reasonably have earned had he or she not died.
- Lost prospective net accumulations of value in the state, if the decedent had lived.
- Reimbursement for medical and funeral expenses paid for by the estate.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death actions must be brought before the court within a certain amount of time following the death in order to be heard by the court. If the action is not brought within the statute of limitations, the action will be time barred, and the court will not hear the claim. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action is four years from the date that the death occurred, but there are some exceptions and extensions that can be made in certain scenarios.
A skilled wrongful death attorney can help you determine if your situation calls for a tolling, or postponement, of the wrongful death claim statute of limitations. If the lawsuit is still pending and the alleged wrongdoer dies, the claimant has only 90 days to file a motion substituting the defendant’s legal representative with the deceased’s name. If the person responsible for your loved one’s death happens to also die (this is especially common in situations like car accidents, attacks, robberies, etc.), you need an attorney that can file the correct paperwork quickly before your chance to recover financial damages is gone forever.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Tampa, FL
If someone you love has been killed because of the negligent or willful acts of another, you may have a wrongful death claim against those responsible for the death. The wrongful death attorneys at Armando Personal Injury Law Firm can help you with your case. Please contact us by calling (813) 906-1151 or fill out an online form to request an appointment.