Wrongful death is a type of personal injury. Specifically, wrongful death claims and lawsuits allow a deceased person’s estate to recover compensation on their behalf and on behalf of surviving family members.
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to Florida Statutes § 768.19, a wrongful death occurs when a person suffers a fatal injury because of a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” Upon their passing, any personal injury case the victim could have brought becomes null and instead becomes a wrongful death action. Therefore, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one died because of a:
- Car, truck, or bus accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Slip and fall
- Workplace accident
- Medical malpractice injury
- Defective or dangerous product or device
- Assault or violent act
- Bicycle accident
- Birth injury
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Boating accident
- Premises liability accident
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Who Is Liable for a Wrongful Death Accident?
Liability for a wrongful death falls with the person or entity whose negligent or reckless behavior caused your loved one’s fatal injury. Depending on the type of accident your loved one suffered, this could be:
- A negligent driver or their employer
- A doctor or health care provider
- A hospital or health care facility
- A property or business owner
- A product, drug, or device manufacturer
- A government entity
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The deceased’s family members cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. Instead, according to Florida Statutes § 768.20, a personal representative of the deceased, sometimes called an executor, must file the case. The court could name an executor if the deceased did not have a will or estate plan.
The court will award any compensation to the estate and the deceased’s surviving family members. Awards received by the estate are divided among the deceased beneficiaries.
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What Awards Can Be Recovered in Wrongful Death Cases?
Because wrongful death is a type of personal injury, you can seek many of the awards the deceased could have pursued had they lived, as well as other damages unique to wrongful death cases. For example, according to Florida Statutes § 768.21, wrongful death damages may include:
- Medical costs – These awards include any medical expenses related to the deceased’s fatal accident, such as emergency transportation and treatment, surgeries, hospitalizations, and medications.
- Funeral expenses – This includes all costs related to your loved one’s funeral and burial.
- Lost earnings – Wrongful death wage compensation includes the deceased’s backpay, earnings, and benefits from the time of their accident until their time of death. Compensation may also include the value of wages, earnings, and benefits the deceased would have saved had they lived.
- Pain and suffering – Surviving family members may receive awards for mental pain and suffering caused by their loved one’s death. Depending on the nature of the survivor’s relationship, this may also include compensation for the loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, protection, parental guidance, and instruction.
Is There a Deadline to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
You have two years from your loved one’s death to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d). If a representative of the deceased’s estate does not file a case within this deadline, you will likely not be able to seek awards. However, some exceptions could shorten or lengthen your window of time. Our wrongful death attorneys can tell you more about the statute of limitations.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help with My Case?
A wrongful death attorney with our firm can help you seek justice for your loved one. We can attempt to settle outside out of court via an insurance claim if applicable to your case. For example, if your loved one suffered a fatal injury during a vehicle accident, we can assist you with a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
If we cannot secure a fair insurance agreement, we can take your case to civil court. However we go about achieving the compensation you deserve, we will:
- File your claim or lawsuit
- Handle your paperwork and deadlines
- Communicate with the insurance companies and other involved parties
- Negotiate on your behalf
- Collect evidence and build a case proving negligence
- Enlist the help of medical professionals and other experts
- Fight tirelessly to secure awards on behalf of your loved ones and their survivors
Contact Our Office to Discuss Your Case with a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine have focused on serving accident victims and their families since our founding in 2006. While monetary awards cannot bring back your loved one, they can provide you with a sense of justice and financial security for your family’s future. To learn more about how we can assist with your wrongful death claim, call our offices at 1-800-747-3733. The call is free, and our services will cost you nothing upfront or out of pocket.
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