In the state of Florida, a deceased person’s estate may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit when the deceased died as a direct result of another party’s actions, regardless of whether it was intentional or accidental. Florida law is unique from many other states in that not just anyone can file a wrongful death suit. Specifically, only the legal representative or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful suit on behalf of the surviving family members. Further, current Florida law stipulates the executor of an estate must file a wrongful death suit within two years of the person’s death.
What Constitutes a “Wrongful Death” in the State of Florida?
Florida law very specifically defines a wrongful death as one resulting from another person’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” A more obvious example is a death resulting from direct criminal action, whether intentional or negligent in nature, such as homicide or manslaughter. However, other forms of negligence can also constitute wrongful death.
What Compensation May I be Entitled to in a Wrongful Death Suit?
If a defendant in a wrongful death suit is required to compensate a deceased person’s family, that compensation may include a number of different things, including:
- Compensation for mental anguish and emotional suffering
- Any relevant medical bills or funeral expenses
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased would have hypothetically continued to earn were they still alive
Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney About a Wrongful Death Claim if a Relative Has Died as a Result of Another Party’s Actions?
If you believe a loved one’s death was the result of the negligent or intentional action of another party, you may wish to take that party to court to pursue due compensation, whether that compensation is for emotional suffering, funeral expenses, or lost earnings. As previously mentioned, however, that requires going through your loved one’s personal representative, and that is only the first step in a complex and arduous process full of legal maneuvering that would be best left to a personal injury attorney knowledgeable in wrongful death claims and their potential pitfalls. That’s why contacting a personal injury attorney immediately is the surest way to save yourself a lot of trouble during what is already likely to be an emotionally turbulent and troubling time.