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Can I file a wrongful death claim after a fatal accident?

Losing a loved one in an accident can be one of the most difficult events a person can go through. In the blink of an eye, your life can be completely changed if someone you love, depend on and shared a life with is killed.

There is no way to replace that person or truly compensate you for your loss. However, many people choose to pursue legal action in an effort to hold the person responsible for the death accountable and to secure the financial relief for which they are eligible. If you are currently coping with the death of a loved one, you may be wondering if this is an option in your situation. In order to determine this, you should ask yourself a few important questions.

  • What is my relationship to the victim? According to Florida wrongful death statutes, only people with specific ties to a victim can file a claim. These are defined as survivors and include a decedent's children, spouse, parents or any blood-related relative who depended on the person. Adopted siblings can also be eligible.
  • What caused the accident? Wrongful death claims stem from negligence or misconduct. This means that another party acted in such a way that indicates an indifference or disregard for other people.
  • When did the fatal incident occur? When a person dies, the clock is ticking on how long survivors have to file a legal claim. While it varies from state to state, in Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is set at two years. 
  • Did my loved one contribute to the accident in any way? If the victim of a fatal incident acted or failed to act in such a way that he or she contributed to event, an award of damages may be diminished in proportion to fault. If the victim was impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time and was more than 50 percent at fault, a wrongful death claim can be denied.

Hopefully these questions and answers will give you some idea of whether a wrongful death claim may be an option. However, discussing the exact details of your loss with an attorney can be crucial in assessing your specific situation and legal options.

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