Some states allow the relatives of a deceased person to file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of the decedent. In Florida, however, only the executor or personal representative (which could also be a relative or family member) of the decedent’s estate can file wrongful death lawsuits.
When personal representatives file wrongful death claims, they are essentially acting on behalf of the surviving family members and the estate’s beneficiaries. The representative is also required to list all of the estate’s beneficiaries when they file the wrongful death lawsuit.
What Exactly is a Wrongful Death?
Under the Florida wrongful death act, wrongful death happens when an individual or entity’s actions result in another individual’s death, such as due to:
- An incident-based on negligence, like a motor vehicle accident, pedestrian accident, workplace accident, slip and fall, etc.
- Medical malpractice or negligence, such as a patient dying because of improper medical treatment
- A defective or faulty product, like a specific car model that’s known to be vulnerable to flipping over when turning corners
- An intentional act, such as an assault
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Florida law, the court could order the defendant or liable party to pay the plaintiff’s damage or losses as compensation for the wrongful death. Damages that are recoverable in wrongful death claims fall into two categories, which are damages paid to the decedent’s estate and damages paid to the decedent’s family.
The decedent’s estate may be awarded the following damages:
- Lost earnings, benefits, and other income from the deceased individual’s injury up to the day of their death.
- All medical, burial, and funeral costs that the estate paid.
- The worth of benefits and income that the decedent could’ve reasonably expected to keep as savings and/or put into the estate had they not died.
The deceased individual’s family members may likewise be awarded the following damages to compensate them for:
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of the services and support that the decedent provided to their loved ones
- Loss of the decedent’s protection and companionship
- Funeral and medical costs are paid by surviving family members.
- Loss of parental guidance, instruction, and companionship.
What’s The Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The statute of limitations or time limit for filing wrongful death claims in Florida is two years from the deceased individual’s death. If the estate’s personal representative fails to file the claim within that two-year window, they will lose their right to file a case to recover damages. On the other hand, a claim for wrongful death could be filed at any time if the decedent died due to manslaughter or murder, even if the defendant hasn’t been charged, arrested, or convicted.
Talk to a Skilled Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Wrongful death claims are inherently complex because of the many laws that may apply to each case. If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim, get in touch with Matthews Injury Law for legal advice. Our skilled Florida wrongful death attorney can explain your legal options and recover damages that your family deserves. To schedule your free case review, please contact us online or call 813-530-1000.