Dealing with the loss of a loved one, a person taken away way too soon can be an extremely difficult experience. Along with grief and sadness, there can be a flood of other emotions that can take over. Anger, worry, rage, confusion, and depression are all common. Acceptance and closure can seem elusive.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit could help the victims of this unimaginable tragedy to find some closure and to relieve them of the financial burdens the loss of their loved one has created. Families in Florida who wish to pursue a lawsuit can contact a wrongful death lawyer in Miami.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything a victim’s family needs to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
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Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The Florida Wrongful Death Act states that a wrongful death occurs when a person or an entity causes a person’s death by a wrongful or negligent act. This could happen in a variety of different ways and in different scenarios, both intentional and unintentional.
- A negligent incidence – Common scenarios where a negligent act falls under the wrongful death umbrella can include car accidents and workplace incidents where an employer or company causes someone’s death due to an unsafe environment.
- Medical malpractice – This occurs when a doctor, surgeon, or other healthcare professional doesn’t follow generally accepted medical treatments, misdiagnoses a condition, or improperly prescribes medications that directly cause a person’s death.
- Defective product – A wrongful death can occur if there is a manufacturer defect to a product that causes someone’s death. Other possible scenarios include a dangerous product design or improper warning labels.
- A wrongful act – This includes intentional or unintentional death caused while committing a crime.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Only one person can file a wrongful death lawsuit, however, this person can file the claim on behalf of the deceased individual’s family. This personal representative is usually the person who was named the deceased’s executor in their will. If there wasn’t a will or an executor named, a family member or someone the family chooses can file the lawsuit. This personal representative is responsible for listing all potential beneficiaries.
Florida law acknowledges that only certain family members can be listed as beneficiaries who can receive compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit. Acceptable beneficiaries of the deceased include:
- Legal spouse or partner
- Minor or adult children
- Any dependent family members
What Damages Can Be Sought After in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Several different damages can be claimed in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. They include damages awarded to the deceased’s family and damages awarded to the deceased’s estate. The types of damages that can be awarded to the beneficiaries include:
- Mental anguish, pain, and suffering
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Loss of support and services
- Funeral expenses, if paid for by a family member
Damages that can be awarded to the deceased individual’s estate can include:
- Lost wages and benefits of the deceased person from the date of injury until the date of death
- The value of reasonably expected earnings if the individual had lived
- Funeral expenses if paid for by the deceased person’s estate
It should be noticed that the Florida Wrongful Death Act’s Statute of Limitations states that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the person’s death. Filing after this time can result in the courts not accepting the lawsuit. The only exception is if the death was a result of manslaughter or murder. This holds true even if the accused hasn’t been charged with the crime.
What Is the Difference Between a Homicide or Manslaughter Case and a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If your loved one was the victim of an intentional or unintentional death that occurred during the commission of a crime, the criminal case is solely about justice and proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is held in the criminal court system and if they’re found guilty, you won’t receive any type of monetary compensation.
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed with the civil court system and if successful, will provide a monetary settlement to the deceased’s estate and family.
Florida State Wrongful Death Lawsuits Explained
The family of someone who’s been the victim of a wrongful death has the right to file a lawsuit to recover monetary damages. Unfortunately, it won’t bring back the individual or erase the horrible tragedy, but it can help to add closure and acceptance. It can also help relieve the stress for those family members who were supported financially by the deceased.