Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each year approximately 170,000 people are killed by an unintentional injury. In a case where the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional action, this is considered wrongful death and may be eligible for compensation.
But who can bring the lawsuit?
Obviously, the decedent won’t be doing it and they don’t need the money anyway. And while money can never replace the person that was lost, proper compensation can help families who are now struggling because of the decedent’s death.
Let’s find out who can file a wrongful death suit in Florida.
The Personal Representative
The short answer to who can sue for wrongful death in Florida is the personal representative. If the decedent left a will or estate plan, they will have named a personal representative to take care of their affairs after their death. If there is no named personal representative, the court will appoint one.
Filing on Behalf of the Family Members
The personal representative may be the one who files the lawsuit, but they do it on behalf of surviving family members. These include:
● The surviving spouse
● The children or parents of the deceased
● Any relative by blood or adoption who is dependent on the deceased
So, can a sibling sue for wrongful death? If they were at least in part dependent on the decedent, they can.
When filing a wrongful death case, the personal representative must name all surviving family members who have an interest in the claim.
Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that you can’t wait forever to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Florida’s statute of limitations requires that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death. A skillful attorney can help you extend the date but beware. There is no guarantee that the court will accept a lawsuit that has been filed after the statute of limitations expires.
What Damages Can Your Family Seek?
Family members can receive monetary compensation in wrongful death cases for a variety of reasons. These include:
● Monetary support (lost income) of the decedent
● Medical expenses
● Funeral expenses
● Mental and emotional pain when losing a child
● Loss of companionship, protection, and guidance
The decedent’s estate itself can seek lost wages and other benefits. The estate can also request “prospective net accumulations”, which is the reasonably calculated value of the decedent’s estate if it would have continued to grow.
Why Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
This is a traumatic time for you. Dealing with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and proving who did what and what the decedent would have wanted is exhausting. A wrongful death lawyer takes much of the stress out of your hands. They also know how to find and present evidence that solidifies your case and will help get you full compensation.
Contact us here at Erjavec Injury Law for a free consultation. Remember, the law limits the amount of time you have to file so sooner is better than later!