When a person is involved in an accident that was caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract by another, and the injuries they sustained in that accident caused their death, then their surviving family members have a right to seek compensation for the damages resulting from their loved one’s death under Florida state law by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act describes who may and may not file a wrongful death lawsuit, what damages can be claimed and the statutes of limitation for taking legal action after a wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In Florida, wrongful death actions must be brought by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate (usually a family member), who acts on behalf of the decedent’s “survivors.” Under Florida laws, only a decedent’s “survivors” can seek damages in a wrongful death claim.
“Survivors” means the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. It also includes a child born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support. Minor children under the age of 25 are entitled to a wider range of damages than surviving adult (over the age of 25) children.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
According to Florida state statute 768.21, “Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value.”
Some of the damages survivors are entitled to include funeral and burial costs; pain and suffering; and loss of services, financial support, companionship and/or parental guidance as well as other expenses. Depending on their age and relation to the deceased, some survivors are entitled to a wider range of damages than others.
The decedent’s spouse can also recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection as well as mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Parents of a deceased minor child can also collect damages for pain and suffering. If there is no surviving spouse, minor children of the decedent may seek to recover damages for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Adult children over the age of 25 and parents of adult children are not eligible to seek these damages.
All awards in a wrongful death action are subject to the claims of creditors who have complied with the requirements of probate law concerning claims.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The laws are very clear – the statute of limitation for filing a wrongful death action is two years.
Winter Haven Wrongful Death Attorneys
A wrongful death can happen in many different circumstances, including automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents; medical malpractice; slips and falls; defective products and medicines; accidental shootings; theme park accidents; assaults and other violent crimes; and nursing home abuse and neglect, to name a few.
Rivas Law Group has helped many survivors obtain the compensation they deserve for the wrongful death of a loved one. The laws pertaining to wrongful death in Florida are complex and amended regularly. Families need someone with extensive experience in pursuing wrongful death claims to ensure they receive the full compensation to which they are entitled to under the law.
If you have lost a family member in an accident that was not their fault we encourage you to reach out to Rivas Law Group. Your initial consultation meeting is always free — so you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by speaking with one of our highly experienced Winter Haven wrongful death attorneys.