When an individual loses their life in an act of negligence, the decedent’s survivors may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the wrongdoer for damages. The term “wrongdoer” refers to the party who is responsible for the decedent’s death. According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act, “survivors” refers to the decedent’s spouse, children and parents, as well as blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters who were dependent on the decedent for support or services. “Minor children” refers to children under the age of 25. It includes children born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father – unless the father has recognized a responsibility to support the child. Attorney Brandon Stein represents wrongful death clients and offers a free consultation to review your case.
What is Sought in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
This depends on the age of the decedent, the ages of the survivors, and their present and future dependency on the deceased. For example, if a man dies at the age of 40 and he is survived by his wife and three minor children, generally speaking the survivors will each seek the value of the present and future lost support and services that would be amassed and contributed by the decedent. The life expectancies of the deceased and the survivors will be calculated. A figure is reached that would reflect the amount of money that the decedent would have contributed during his life.
Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida
Every state has a statute of limitations, which are passed laws that set time limits on your right to go to court and file a lawsuit. Most states have separate statutes specfically covering wrongful death lawsuits.
In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filied within two years of the date of death in most cases, according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d). The deadline may be “tolled,” or postponed, under a few very specific circumstances. An attorney with experience handling Florida wrongful death cases can help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires in a certain case.
Seeking Compensation as a Surviving Spouse, Child, or Parent
A wrongful death case is a civil claim. This means that the case is brought to court by the deceased person’s estate, not by the government. Liability in a wrongful death claim is experessed solely in terms of money damages. According to Florida Statutes section 768.21, damages that surviving family members may receive in wrongful death cases are:
- medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person
- the value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member
- loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person
- compensation for the mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child
- Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death, less lost support of survivors excluding contributions in kind, with interest
- Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate, which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death
The surviving spouse may seek compensation for the loss of companionship and protection that the decedent would have provided, and for mental pain and suffering, starting from the date of the decedent’s injury.
The children may seek compensation for their loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance and may also seek compensation for mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury.
Each parent of the deceased may seek damages for mental pain and suffering. Medical and funeral expenses may be recovered if a party already paid for this.
Attorneys’ fees are paid from the final amount as well. There are other parts of the wrongful death statute – speak to your attorney for clarification and specifics as it pertains to your case.
Contact Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Brandon Stein for a Complimentary Case Review
If your loved one lost their life because of the negligent or intentional actions of another, you may pursue compensation in a wrongful death claim. Attorney Brandon Stein is a respected Florida wrongful death and personal injury attorney and is known for his dedication and commitment to his clients.
We know that it’s impossible to assign a dollar value to a human life, but we also recognize that compensation can make a difficult situation much easier to manage.
Attorney Stein is sensitive to the suffering you have been through and will fight for the maximum compensation possible. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis and there are no legal fees unless your case is favorably resolved. Attorney Stein offers a free case review, which you can schedule by calling 877-783-4652 or click here to text 844.STEIN.99.