You have the option to file a personal injury claim anytime someone’s negligence harms you. But what about when someone dies? In cases like this, a wrongful death claim might be appropriate. However, wrongful death claims have some unique characteristics. This short guide will explain more about wrongful death claims and what options might be available.
Wrongful Death Claims Are a Type of Personal Injury Claim
There are many types of personal injury claims, from slip-and-falls to catastrophic medical errors. All of them have one thing in common – injury or harm. This type of civil wrong is called a tort and can take three forms:
- Intentional torts – One driver deliberately hits another, i.e., a road rage incident.
- Negligent torts – A driver ignores traffic laws and causes a car crash.
- Strict liability torts – A manufacturer knowingly sells a defective product that injures a consumer.
Wrongful death claims could fall into any of these three categories.
Only Certain People Can File Wrongful Death Actions
In the typical personal injury case, the injured person is the one who files the lawsuit. But a deceased person obviously cannot file their own wrongful death claim.
Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute, only the deceased person’s executor or personal representative can file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative files the action on behalf of the deceased person’s beneficiaries. In some states, any relative of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit, but not in Florida.
If the deceased person died without writing a Will, a court would appoint someone to serve as personal representative of the estate. That person, then, has standing to file wrongful death claims.
Damages Claimed Will Be a Little Different
In a personal injury claim, the spouse of the injured party might be eligible for compensation.
However, the parties in successful wrongful death claims might receive compensation for the following damages:
- Loss of support that the deceased person provided to their family.
- Loss of companionship and protection.
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by a survivor.
- If the deceased person had children, they might also claim loss of parental guidance and companionship.
The decedent’s estate might also recover for damages for:
- Lost wages and benefits from the date of injury to the date of death.
- Any additional monies the decedent might have left as part of their estate had they lived longer.
- Any medical or funeral costs that the estate paid.
It’s difficult to think about legal matters after a loved one dies. However, you must file a wrongful death action within two years (Statute of Limitations) after the date of death. But it’s important to act way before the statute of limitations and make sure that witnesses are interviewed, and evidence is preserved. Please talk to a Florida wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after a death to protect your rights to compensation.
Our Experienced Attorneys Assist Clients with Wrongful Death Claims
If you have been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you need top-rated, hard-working representation. At Shapiro|Delgado, our attorneys put their injury law experience to work for you. And we handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do.
We represent clients throughout Florida, including Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, and surrounding communities.
To set up a free personal consultation, call 941-954-4000 or use our convenient online contact form.
Your family counts on you.
You can count on us.