Wrongful death lawsuits allow certain family members to receive compensation when a loved one dies due to another person’s wrongful conduct. Had your loved one survived the accident, they could have brought the lawsuit. But because they died, Florida law allows the family to bring the lawsuit instead.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated and not well understood. Below, we highlight the key facts you should know.
The Personal Representative Files the Suit
Certain family members can receive compensation in the form of “damages.” However, the estate’s personal representative actually files the lawsuit according to Fla. Stat. § 768.20. The personal representative should be identified in the deceased person’s will. If not, then the probate judge will appoint someone.
Wrongful Death is Broadly Defined
Not every accidental death will support a lawsuit. Instead, death must have been caused by:
- Wrongful act
- Breach of contract
In many cases, a lawsuit will be brought under negligence, which means the defendant did not use adequate care. A motorist who fails to check their mirrors and accidentally backs over someone in the Publix parking lot has been negligent. Wrongful acts can also be intentional or reckless ones. So someone who commits an act of violence against your loved one can also be sued.
Certain Family Members Receive Benefits
Only certain family members are eligible to receive benefits, such as:
- A blood relative who was dependent on the deceased
Compensation Covers Certain Financial Losses
Damages are sums of money the jury can award a surviving relative for their losses. Under Florida law, family members can receive damages for any losses, including:
- Loss of services. The deceased could have cooked, cleaned, and taken care of a relative.
- Loss of support. The deceased could have looked after a relative.
- Loss of companionship. A surviving spouse can receive money to make up for the loss of companionship. Children might also qualify for the loss of their parental companionship.
- Lost income. The deceased could have continued working had they not died, so these lost wages are recoverable.
The estate can also receive compensation in a lawsuit. For example, the estate might have paid for the funeral and burial and can be reimbursed.
Contact a Lawyer Quickly
Florida’s statute of limitations gives the family 2 years from the date of death to file. If you delay, then a judge can toss the case out of court, leaving the family with no financial compensation.
Contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, today. We have successfully brought many wrongful death lawsuits, and we know how to win. Call 305-371-2692 to set up a free consultation.