The death of a loved one is life shattering, and it can be even more painful when it occurs because of another person’s negligence. The most common places where negligence occurs are in the workplace, hospital and nursing facilities. When this happens, eligible parties have the right to sue the wrongdoer.
A wrongful death claim is a civil, non-criminal action (or “tort”) that surviving relatives or spouses can file against the negligent party. Take a look at these answers to the most common questions so that you know better what to expect in your Florida case.
Here are the common questions
Q: What is wrongful death?
Here’s what the Florida Wrongful Death Act (§768.19) has to say:
“When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person or watercraft that would have been liable in damages if death had not ensued shall be liable for damages as specified in this act notwithstanding the death of the person injured, although death was caused under circumstances constituting a felony.”
Q: Who can bring a wrongful death claim?
According to Florida law, eligible survivors and the estate of the victim are allowed to sue the wrongdoer for a wrongful death. This includes spouses, children, parents and siblings.
Q: Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit?
If the wrongdoer is found liable for the death of the victim, each survivor having a claim can be awarded money. In the state of Florida, spouses, children, parents and siblings are all considered eligible to receive damages awarded.
Q: How are wrongful death settlements paid out in Florida?
Loss of support, pain and suffering, medical and funeral costs and lost earnings are all examples of damages that can be recovered by eligible individuals. In addition, the surviving spouse can also seek to recover for loss of companionship.
Q: How hard is it to prove wrongful death?
In order to prove a wrongful death, the plaintiff must present evidence that the wrongdoer more than likely caused the victim’s fatality because of their negligence. This is standard proof, known as “preponderance of the evidence,” and is more easily attainable than in a criminal case.
Q: What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in Florida?
In regards to the statute of limitations, eligible dependants may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one within 2 years from the date of the death, in most cases. There are few exceptions to this deadline, which is why it’s important to act quickly and consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you think you might have a wrongful death case.
Q: What are the steps in a wrongful death lawsuit?
When a person dies by the wrongdoing or the negligence of another, the family of the victim should contact an attorney. Once it’s established that the victim’s family is eligible, they can file a claim with the civil court within 2 years of the incident, per the statute of limitations. If successful, the victim’s family can be awarded monetary damages.
Q: When should you contact an attorney?
The sooner you get in touch with a Florida wrongful death attorney, the better chance you’ll have to receive damages that can help pay for funeral fees and any medical expenses that may have been incurred before the victim’s death.