Wrongful death cases are common in Florida because of the state’s stunning natural resources and a high number of work-related deaths. Work-related, accidental, or deliberately caused, wrongful death is a cause of legal action.
You can file a lawsuit for compensation when a relative, spouse, or child dies from suspicious circumstances like medical malpractice, negligent accidental injuries, or deliberate attempts to harm. Make sure to file a claim or lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. A lawyer can help you stay on track.
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Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is two years from the date of the victim’s death. You can sue for economic and non-economic damages like funeral expenses and pain and suffering.
Wrongful death cases can become complex, so you should consult a Delray Beach personal injury attorney. A legal expert can offer compassionate guidance throughout this legal process.
Some essential statistics include the following:
- Nine out of 10 lawsuits of medical malpractice involve wrongful death or permanent disability
- Vehicle accidents are responsible for most of Florida’s wrongful death cases
- Florida caps non-economic damages to $1 million in medical malpractice cases except for punitive damages
- Florida limits non-economic damages to $1.5 million in cases that do not involve medical malpractice
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Florida
Individual relatives can’t sue directly for wrongful death in Florida. A Personal Representative of the decedent must bring the case up in probate court. The Personal Representative is named in the will.
If the victim dies without a will, the probate court will appoint a responsible person to handle probate and sue for wrongful death on behalf of the estate.
Survivors can’t initiate a wrongful death case in Florida, but they can make their opinions known to the estate’s Personal Representative. The estate has a duty of care to realize the proceeds of any estate assets, which include a wrongful death lawsuit that benefits the estate.
Differences Between A Wrongful Death Case And A Criminal Trial
Criminal trials require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but wrongful death cases only require a preponderance of the evidence. Criminal trials can result in jail sentences, probation, fines, and more. Think of a wrongful death case as a personal injury lawsuit if the victim had not died.
The estate must list every surviving relative. Without a written will, the estate will be divided among the heirs, according to Florida law. Each blood and marriage-related relative interested in the outcome must be listed, including anyone who depended on the victim for financial support. That’s part of the reason why Florida wrongful death cases move so slowly.
The estate receives any lawsuit proceeds, but any outstanding debts are deducted from the estate. If the victim owed more money than the lawsuit stands to gain, pushing the case might prove useless to the heirs.
The lawsuit can recover funds like lost earnings, the net expected accumulations from investments and funds for non-economic damages up to $1 or $1.5 million. These damages include:
- Lost support and services
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the victim’s companionship, guidance, and instruction
- Funeral expenses
Who Can Receive Money From A Wrongful Death Case
When there are no other survivors, the following people can receive money from a wrongful death case:
- Minor and adult children
- Surviving spouse
- Parents of a deceased minor child
- Parents of an adult child
In certain cases, other relatives might qualify. Financial dependents can receive money equal to the amount of the victim’s support.
Hiring An Attorney
There might be circumstances that qualify an heir to receive funds from a wrongful death case. That’s why hiring an experienced lawyer in Florida wrongful death cases is essential.
With expert legal assistance, the proceedings will take less time. Knowing that the case is handled by experts, survivors can concentrate on processing events and learn how to move forward.
Losing a loved one in a fatal accident is a deeply personal tragedy. Robert K. Olivieri knows this too well, as he lost a sibling in a car accident caused by a reckless driver. Robert was a law student when the family tragedy struck. This was a turning point in his personal life and career, as he decided to become an expert in wrongful death cases. Surviving family members of a wrongfully deceased person is extremely vulnerable immediately after the accident. Sadly, some entities, like insurance companies, may prey on grieving survivors, exploiting their raw emotional state. Robert K. Olivieri is dedicated to helping the deceased victim’s families protect themselves and the memory of their loved ones by teaching them to wield the law to their advantage.