Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer
Many states, including Florida, have statutes that allow beneficiaries to file a suit and recover for the wrongful death of a loved one.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is essentially a civil lawsuit in which a family member sues another person or company in order to hold them accountable for their negligence that caused the death of their family member.
Who May Bring a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida law requires the personal representative of the deceased person's estate to file the wrongful death claim. The personal representative may be named in the deceased person's will or estate plan. If there is no will or estate plan, the personal representative will be appointed by the court.
Although the wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative, it is filed on behalf of the deceased person's estate and any surviving family members. In the wrongful death claim, the personal representative must list every survivor who has an interest in the case.
Family members who may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case include:
- the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents, and
- any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is "partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services."
Florida Statute 768.19 specifically states that “when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract or warranty,” the estate of the deceased person may bring such a lawsuit. In accordance with the statute, a Florida wrongful death cause of action must be based upon the following elements:
- Conduct that amounts to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty;
- The conduct upon which the cause of action is based must have caused the death of the decedent; and
- Such conduct must have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.
The third element stands for the proposition that the decedent would have had an underlying cause of action to the wrongful death had he or she not been killed by the wrongful conduct.
Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state's rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages that surviving family members may receive in these kinds of cases include:
- 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;
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child; and,
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
The deceased person's estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived
- Lost "prospective net accumulations" of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived; and,
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
Learn more about Damages in a Wrongful Death Case by calling Jason Recksiedler or Caroline Fischer Espi at First Choice Law.
Time Limits for Filing a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Each state has passed laws that set time limits on your right to go to court and file a lawsuit. This kind of law is called a statute of limitations, and most states have passed a separate statute that covers wrongful death lawsuits.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed 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. First Choice Law attorneys have experience handling Florida wrongful death claims and can help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires in a certain case.
It's critical to understand and follow the deadline set by the statute of limitations, otherwise you could lose your right to bring your wrongful death lawsuit to court.
First Choice Law handles Wrongful Death claims, so call Jason Recksiedler or Caroline Fischer Espi today for a Free consultation.
Get Our Expert Wrongful Death Attorneys On Your Side Today
Contact First Choice Law and schedule a case consultation if you have lost a loved one as a result of another party's negligence or misconduct. Our wrongful death attorneys serve Orlando and Central Florida, and have an impressive track record of achieving substantial personal injury verdicts and settlements for our clients. We have the experience and the knowledge necessary for obtaining just compensation for your claim.