Introduction to How wrongful death claims are handled in Florida
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be wondering how to pursue justice and compensation for your loss. At Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, we understand the pain and grief that you are going through, and we are here to help you with your legal needs. We are a team of experienced and compassionate lawyers who have handled many wrongful death cases in Florida. We will fight for your rights and interests, and help you recover the damages that you deserve.
In this blog post, we will explain how wrongful death claims are handled in Florida, and what you need to know before you file a lawsuit. We will also discuss how our law firm can assist you with your case and provide you with the personal attention and professional representation that you deserve.
What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a situation where a person dies as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity. Wrongful death can occur in various types of accidents, such as car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, workplace accidents, premises liability, and more. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 3,325 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2020, which was a 5.8% decrease from 2019. However, this number still represents a significant loss of life and a major public health issue. The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the surviving family members of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or entity that caused their death. The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions, and to compensate the family for their losses and damages.
What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Florida?
The statute of limitations is the time limit within which you must file a lawsuit for your claim. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to sue and recover any compensation. In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally two years from the date of death. However, there may be some exceptions or extensions depending on the circumstances of your case. For example, if the cause of death was not discovered until later, or if the defendant was criminally charged for the death, the statute of limitations may be tolled or paused until the discovery or resolution of these issues. Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after your loss, to determine the exact deadline for your case and to preserve your legal rights.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Florida?
In Florida, the process and eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death claim are primarily governed by the Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. This legislation outlines who can file such a claim and under what circumstances.
Eligibility Criteria According to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act
The Florida Wrongful Death Act specifies that the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is the individual responsible for filing the wrongful death claim. This representative acts on behalf of the deceased’s estate and the surviving family members. While the personal representative files the claim, the potential beneficiaries can include:
- The deceased’s spouse, children, and parents.
- Any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for support or services.
It’s essential to note that the specific circumstances of the death and the relationship between the deceased and the potential beneficiary can influence the types of damages that each beneficiary may claim.
Role of the Personal Representative in the Claim Process
The personal representative plays a pivotal role in the wrongful death claim process. This individual, either named in the deceased’s will or estate plan or appointed by the court if no such designation exists, is responsible for:
- Initiating the wrongful death lawsuit.
- Gathering and presenting evidence to support the claim.
- Ensuring that all potential beneficiaries are included in the claim.
- Distributing any awarded damages to the beneficiaries as specified by the Wrongful Death Act.
The personal representative acts in the best interests of both the estate and the surviving family members. If you’re unsure about who the personal representative for your loved one’s estate is or if one needs to be appointed, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified Florida wrongful death attorney to guide you through the process.
What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim in Florida?
Navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s untimely death is emotionally taxing. While no amount of compensation can truly make up for the loss, understanding the potential damages recoverable in a wrongful death claim can provide some financial relief to the bereaved family. In Florida, the Wrongful Death Act outlines the types of damages that beneficiaries might be entitled to.
Types of Damages Recoverable
Medical and Funeral Expenses: These cover the costs related to the deceased’s final illness or injury and funeral or burial expenses. Typically, these damages are awarded to the estate unless paid by a family member.
Loss of Income and Support: This includes the lost wages, benefits, and other earnings that the deceased would have provided if they had lived. It also encompasses the loss of potential future earnings.
Loss of Companionship and Protection: Spouses may recover damages for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and protection. Minor children (and all children if there’s no surviving spouse) can claim damages for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance.
Pain and Suffering: Parents of a deceased minor child can recover damages for pain and suffering. If the child was an adult, parents can claim these damages if there are no other survivors.
Punitive Damages: These are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.
Calculating and Distributing Damages
The calculation of damages in a wrongful death claim can be complex. It often involves considering factors like the deceased’s age, health, life expectancy, earning capacity, and the nature of their relationships with survivors. Expert testimony, such as that from economists or medical professionals, might be required to determine the full extent of economic losses.
Once damages are awarded, the personal representative is responsible for ensuring they are distributed correctly among the beneficiaries. The distribution must align with the provisions of the Wrongful Death Act and any relevant stipulations in the deceased’s will or estate plan.
How can Bengal Law help you with your wrongful death claim in Florida?
When faced with the tragic loss of a loved one, the legal intricacies of a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming. At Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, we understand the emotional and financial challenges you’re facing, and we’re committed to guiding you every step of the way.
Every wrongful death claim is unique, and so is the grieving process. Our team is dedicated to understanding your specific situation, needs, and goals. We offer personalized legal strategies tailored to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
Decades of Experience
With years of experience in handling wrongful death claims in Florida, our attorneys possess a deep understanding of the state’s Wrongful Death Act and the nuances of the legal system. This expertise ensures that your claim is presented compellingly and accurately.
Knowledge from Former Insurance Adjusters and Defense Attorneys
Our team includes former insurance adjusters and defense attorneys, providing us with an insider’s perspective on how insurance companies operate. This unique insight allows us to anticipate potential challenges and build a robust case on your behalf.
Prompt and Attentive Communication
We believe in keeping our clients informed. Our commitment is to provide timely updates, answer any questions, and ensure you’re comfortable with every decision made throughout the process.
Low Volume, High-Value Practice
At Bengal Law, we prioritize quality over quantity. By taking on a select number of cases, we ensure that each client receives the time, resources, and dedication they deserve. Our focus is on achieving the maximum compensation for your loss.
Contact us today!
The journey through a wrongful death claim is undoubtedly challenging, both emotionally and legally. The complexities of the Florida legal system, combined with the personal grief of losing a loved one, can make the process seem insurmountable. However, with the right guidance and support, justice can be sought, and a sense of closure achieved.
At Bengal Law: Florida Accident Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC, we are not just attorneys; we are compassionate allies dedicated to standing by your side. Our commitment is to ensure that your loved one’s memory is honored through diligent legal representation and that you and your family receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.
We understand that no amount of financial restitution can truly replace the void left by a loved one’s passing. However, it can provide a foundation for rebuilding and moving forward, alleviating some of the financial burdens that often accompany such a loss.
If you or someone you know is grappling with the aftermath of a wrongful death, remember that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Our team is here to offer guidance, support, and the expertise that comes from years of dedicated legal practice in Florida.
For more information, to ask questions, or to begin the process of seeking justice for your loved one, please text or call us at 407-815-3000 or visit our website. Your trust in Bengal Law is not just appreciated; it’s honored. We are here to serve, support, and stand with you every step of the way. Contact us today!