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Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

If you are ready to discuss your legal options, make sure you find a reputable and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

Bereavement may be one of the most painful experiences a person can ever experience. There are very few things that compare to the sorrow of mourning someone we love and care about deeply. When your loved one dies at the hands of a negligent or careless person, that’s considered a wrongful death.

Surviving family members of a person killed by a reckless or negligent person can bring a wrongful death claim against the defendant. A wrongful death claim will help surviving families recover compensation to help them deal with their tragic loss and help with financial burdens affiliated with the death of their loved one. It also helps family members hold defendants accountable for their negligence.

The decision to file a wrongful death claim is a deeply personal and serious consideration. If you are ready to discuss your legal options, make sure you find a reputable and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute

Florida’s wrongful death statute exists to help surviving family members. The statue states that if an individual wrongfully causes another person’s death, surviving family members can hold the individual legally responsible. Additionally, the law protects surviving family members by allowing them to seek financial remedy for their loss.

Let’s clarify the definition of “wrongful death” according to Florida’s statute. A wrongful death occurs when a person dies as a result of another person’s:

  • Negligence
  • Wrongful act
  • Violation of a contract
  • Violation of a warranty

If that’s the case, the family members are entitled to bring a civil suit for financial reimbursement. So, if your loved one died because of another person’s negligence, consider speaking with a legal professional about your options.

You should not have to suffer in silence and struggle for the rest of your life due to your loved one’s death. While we understand nothing compares to the grief of losing a family member, getting financial recovery will help support your family in these difficult times.

Florida’s “Wrongful Death Act” Section 768.19

Florida’s wrongful death statute section 768.19 is that statute specifically giving family members a “Right of Action” to file a lawsuit in civil court.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil proceeding and is not the same as criminal court. So, if the state brings criminal charges against the defendant, those will be tried separately in a different court.

My Loved One Died. Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim on Their Behalf?

After someone dies in Florida, the personal representative must file a wrongful death claim. What is a personal representative? It’s someone who acts on behalf of the deceased person’s surviving family members and the estate. Personal representatives are designated in a will or testament. If the deceased person did not assign a representative, the court will assign one.

Only the Personal Representative Can File a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit but Survivors and Dependents Can Get Compensation

Only the personal representative of the deceased person is allowed to to legally file a wrongful death claim. However, any compensation they win from the claim should be paid to the deceased person’s estate. Meaning, their beneficiaries, surviving family, and dependents, are entitled to receive money from the wrongful death claim.

If you are the personal representative of the deceased person, you have to list:

  • every survivor who is interested in the case
  • and has potential entitlement part of the damage compensation

Once legal damages are paid, they will get distributed in accordance with Florida’s inheritance laws. The closest family member usually gets priority and so on and so forth.

What Family Members Are Allowed to Collect From a Wrongful Death Claim?

Beneficiaries are eligible to recover damages from their loved one in a wrongful death claim. They may be eligible to claim for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical treatment and surgery, hospitalization their loved one needed before death
  • An award for any pain and suffering the victim endured before their death

In addition to compensation for their loved one’s suffering, they can also claim damages for their own personal losses such as:

  • pain, and suffering
  • loss of parental guidance
  • loss of companionship
  • Loss of support
  • loss of household services
  • increased costs
  • lost of income and benefits,
  • Becoming a single parent
  • Other financial hardships from the victim’s death

What Family Members Are Considered Beneficiaries for Wrongful Death Claim Purposes?

Florida is very particular about who is considered a beneficiary in the event of a wrongful death case. Beneficiaries include:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Dependent family members ( that includes blood relative and adopted children, as long as they were dependent on the deceased)
  • Children out of wedlock (children of unmarried parents, but only if the deceased recognized the child as his own and paid child support)

The Estate Could Claim Additional Damages

The deceased person’s estate or representative might be eligible to recover the victim’s lost income, earnings, or wages. In addition, the estate could recover lost earnings, future lost earnings including benefits, pensions, and other likely earnings the deceased would have gotten.

Remember the estate gets distributed to the beneficiaries in the end. Another damage the estate can claim is the lost value of investments or income the estate lost due to the victim’s death.

What Type of Situations Allow Surviving Family Members to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

Some of the most common cases that give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida include:

  • Motor vehicle collision deaths
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Electric scooter accidents
  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Unsafe premises or property (commercial and residential)
  • Dangerous or defective products
  • Drowning deaths
  • Dog bites and animal attacks

No matter what kind of accident occurred, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit if you loved one died because of another’s negligence or wrongful acts. If you have any uncertainties, you might want to speak with an attorney. They can help you get a realistic idea of the strength and viability of your claim.

How Much Do People Usually Get From a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

Wrongful death claims are usually filed for two major reasons. First, to get justice. Nothing will bring back a loved one’s life. And finding a way forward doesn’t guarantee your pain will end. But, holding the liable parties accountable can provide a little sense of justice. Additionally, recovering financial compensation can help you and your family gain financial stability.

Every case is unique and has different circumstances. There’s no set formula to calculate the value of a wrongful death claim. However, an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney can assess your case. They will determine the facts, do an investigation and gather evidence. Then they can analyze everything in the case to help you come up with a fair and realistic value of your wrongful death claim.

How Do I Get Paid for a Wrongful Death Settlement?

Florida’s wrongful death statute asserts that the compensation from a wrongful death settlement should be distributed equally to all beneficiaries. If the adult beneficiaries are able to agree on a specific division plan, the court will usually allow it.

However, the court may intervene under certain circumstances. For example, if there is a lien against the estate, the lien is taken from the estate, rather than the survivors’ award. Here are a few other scenarios when the court would need to intervene:

  • Florida’s Guardianship Law
    • If a minor is involved, a guardian must allocate disbursement of funds for the minor until they become an adult
  • Dependent adults and minor children have the same priority so long as they are solely financially dependent on the deceased.

What Kind of Evidence and Proof Do I Need for My Florida Wrongful Death Claim?

To file a claim for wrongful death in Florida, You need to prove:

  • The defendant’s negligence, intentional act, or recklessness is sufficient grounds for a personal injury claim or other legal contract.
  • If the victim was still alive, they would be able to bring a personal injury claim against the defendant.
  • You must identify the personal representative of the estate and all family members.
  • You must also prove causation and damages, or how the defendant’s actions caused damages to the surviving family members. So, you must prove that your loved one’s death caused personal and financial damages to you and your family.

Do I Really Need to Hire a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney?

After losing a loved one, you need to take care of yourself and your family. While grieving the death of someone dear to us, it can get easy to neglect our own health and welfare. However, there is so much stress, trauma, and intense emotional processing to deal with after a death. Your immune system can take a toll, your sleep might get out of whack and your overall health may just take a plunge dive.

That’s why we highly recommend hiring an experienced attorney to handle your case. Coping with this loss will be emotionally and mentally taxing. The last thing you probably want to do is face complex legal issues. But you don’t have to feel frustrated or hopeless.

You need compassionate yet professional legal experts who can support you and guide you through the legal process. They will alleviate much pressure around the legal aspects of your case. Other ways a Florida wrongful death attorney can help you include:

  • Giving a free initial consultation to help you understand your legal rights, options, and what move to make next
  • Ensure you meet the deadline to file a claim
  • Handle all documents and paperwork so you have space to grieve
  • Hire experts to strengthen your claim (personal investigators, medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists)
  • Gather evidence for your case
  • Negotiate with insurance companies for the maximum settlement possible
  • Prepare for court and trial proceedings if necessary

Getting professional legal help will save you time and money and lessen the stress you already have during such a tragic time.

Contact an Experienced Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you lost a loved one due to the actions of a negligent or careless person, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We know that this is confusing, overwhelming, and painful. You may never truly get over a loved one’s death. If you feel like you want to cut people off and retreat, that’s normal. But you don’t have to suffer alone.

Our Florida wrongful death attorneys care about you and feel for your immense loss. That’s why we will do everything in our power to ease your burdens and give you space to grieve. We’ll handle your case and try to get you a generous financial award to help you move forward. No amount of money is even close to your loved one’s life, but it can help your quality of life and financial security.

Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you.

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