Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in Florida?
Under Florida tort law, a death is considered wrongful if it could have been prevented had someone acted with reasonable care. Both intentional deaths, like murder, and accidental deaths, like traffic fatalities, can fall under the umbrella of being wrongful—and both warrant compensation.
While no amount of money can ever bring the deceased back or even begin to replace the hole left in their wake, securing compensation could at least make it easier for surviving loved ones to carry on in the aftermath. This is especially true if they relied on the deceased for financial support.
If your family is thinking about filing a wrongful death claim, it’s wise to consult an attorney before getting started. There are strict laws governing the proceedings, beginning with those who are actually allowed to bring the action.
In Florida, a claim involving a wrongful death can only be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Regardless of whether this individual is entitled to any of the funds that might result, they are responsible for guiding the case through the proceedings.
If the deceased made arrangements prior to passing, they probably named someone to serve in the executor role. If they did not—or if the party that they named is unwilling or unable to handle all that the job demands—the court will assign someone to step in and serve.
Should the action yield a payout, the funds will then be distributed among all eligible beneficiaries. Such parties might include the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. If there are any others who depended on the victim financially, they may also be entitled to some portion of the settlement or judgement; however, they can only collect their compensation after those primary beneficiaries listed above have received their rightful shares.
As for the kinds of damages that are recoverable, they depend on each beneficiary’s relationship with the deceased but generally include some combination of the following:
- Loss of companionship;
- Emotional trauma;
- Loss of protection, guidance, and emotional support;
- Loss of future care and comfort;
- Lost income and benefits; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
If your family might have grounds for a wrongful death claim, it’s advisable to get the proceedings underway as soon as possible. In the state of Florida, the usual statute of limitations for these actions is two years from the date of passing. In some scenarios, however, the filing deadline is much shorter. Consequently, you may have less time than you realize to seek legal recourse.
Speak with a Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney
If you think your loved one’s death should be considered wrongful in the eyes of the law, turn to Capaz Law Firm, P.A. to determine how best to proceed. Our compassionate team knows all too well the devastating toll an unanticipated death can take on the whole family. As such, we’re determined to advocate for those who are grieving a loss they never should have suffered in the first place.