Understanding Your Rights as a Surviving Family Member in a Florida Wrongful Death CaseJacksonville Accident News
When a loved one’s life has been ripped away too soon, their family members are left with an unexpected financial burden and a hole in their hearts that can never be filled. The grief and other emotional turmoil caused by the untimely death of a family member can be compensated by the person who is responsible for that family member’s death. We at Sheftall Law know that there is no amount of money that can take the place of a loved one whose life has been taken too soon. This week, we will be going over what your rights are as a surviving family member, who can file a wrongful death claim, and how your attorney can help you in these difficult and trying times.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a situation in which negligence or carelessness directly results in the death of an innocent person. A wrongful death claim can be filed by the deceased’s family only if the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury claim had they survived the incident. Examples of wrongful death include cases like:
- Manslaughter/Murder- Murder is a criminal charge caused when a person’s physical attacks result in the victim’s death. Had the deceased survived the attack, they would have been able to file a personal injury claim against the attacker. Wrongful death can be filed without pressing criminal charges, and vice versa.
- Negligence- If an accident caused by another’s actions such as a car accident causes the victim’s death, the surviving family members are able to file a wrongful death claim. This is because the victim would have been able to file a car accident injury claim.
- Medical Malpractice- If a victim loses their life due to the mistakes of a medical professional, that medical professional could face a wrongful death lawsuit. Had the victim survived the incident, they would have been able to file a medical malpractice claim themself.
A wrongful death suit is never meant to punish the at-fault party for their actions, but to gain compensation for the surviving family members of the deceased. Criminal cases are solely for the purpose to punish the negligent or careless behaviors of the at-fault party that prematurely ended the life of your loved one.
Who Can File a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
A personal representative of the deceased’s estate must file a wrongful death claim on the behalf of the surviving family members. This representative may be named in the deceased’s will or appointed by the court. Any and all surviving family members of interest in the case must be listed. Those who can receive damages in a wrongful death claim include the deceased’s:
- Any blood relative or adoptive family who depends on the deceased for support or services
A child born to unmarried parents may file for damages in the event of their mother’s wrongful death. This child may file for damages for their father’s wrongful death only if the father recognized them as their own and was obligated to support the child.
Time Restraints For Filing A Wrongful Death Claim In Florida
In the United States, there are time limits in which to file a wrongful death claim. The time restriction for any personal injury claim including wrongful death is called a statute of limitations. In Florida, that statute is two years after the death. There are certain and limited cases that can be tolled after the fact. If you wait too long to get an attorney involved in your wrongful death case, you could miss out on your right to demand compensation for your losses. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand those limits and what the specific exemptions for the statute of limitations can be.
Wrongful Death Damages That Can Be Claimed
The liability in a wrongful death claim is solely monetary. The estate of the deceased can bring the claim into a civil court to demand compensation for their loss. It’s a different matter altogether when the case is taken to criminal court, for that covers different concerns.
Damages that family members can claim include:
- Loss of guidance, protection, and companionship
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of support and services
- Loss of wages and financial support
- Financial security and predicted income
The above-listed damages and more can be claimed by the deceased’s surviving family members as long as the conditions and requirements mentioned earlier are met. Your wrongful death attorney can help you make sure that your claim is filed within the time limit, along with helping you clarify any questions you have about your unique situation.
What Can a Wrongful Death Attorney do for Me?
Personal injury attorneys can double as wrongful death attorneys because both types of cases require most of the same elements. A knowledgeable and resourceful attorney can fight for your rights and get you the highest amount of compensation you deserve. Everyone knows there is no amount of money that can replace a loved one, but the compensation your attorney can get you can help with the transition of living life without your loved one and lift some of the unexpected financial burdens and help you and your family move on in the best position possible. These cases can have several complications and a wrongful death attorney can help you navigate them.
Calling a Wrongful Death Attorney In Florida
Was a loved one taken too soon due to the negligent and reckless behavior of another? The compassionate team of wrongful death attorneys at Sheftall Law is here to help. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about your unique situation and offer any legal advice we can. With several years of combined experience, you can count on us to stand by your side to fight for your rights and keep your best interest as a surviving family member in mind. Call us today at (904)-569-6025 to talk with one of our attorneys for your free, no-obligation, and completely confidential consultation.