Losing a loved one is tough under any circumstances. But when your loved one dies as the result of someone else’s negligence or deliberate behavior, it’s difficult to understand why it happened at all. You’re faced with the emotional loss and perhaps also with medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and a loss of income. While you’re feeling emotionally and financially overwhelmed, you also might be angry at the person who caused your loved one’s death. You want to hold them accountable and under Florida law, you can.
For more than 20 years, I’ve been helping clients pursue wrongful death claims and recover damages from the individuals and companies responsible for the death of their loved ones. I represent family members throughout the State of Florida, including Jacksonville Beach and Jacksonville, who demand justice for the lives of their loved ones. At Glober Law Firm, I am proud to assist them in that pursuit.
Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are two primary reasons to file a wrongful death claim. First, it holds the person or entity responsible for their actions by penalizing them financially and legally for their negligence, which might save other families from going through the trauma of loss in the future. Second, death can be expensive, and financial recovery for expenses like funeral and burial costs and loss of income can help ease the financial burden of your loss. Filing a wrongful death claim or wrongful death lawsuit isn’t about profiting from the death of a loved one. It’s about holding someone accountable for their disregard for the value of life.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Under Florida Statutes section 768.19, a person injured by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty by someone else is entitled to take legal action and recover damages. If the injured person dies as the result of another person’s actions, their family and estate are entitled to hold the responsible person accountable. In other words, whether the wronged person is injured or killed, the negligent person is liable for the damages they cause.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The personal representative of the decedent’s estate, named in a will or estate plan, may file the wrongful death claim in Florida. If there is no personal representative, the court can appoint one.
The claim, or complaint, filed in a wrongful death action must identify all beneficiaries of any recovery and their relationship to the decedent. Beneficiaries include:
- The surviving spouse;
- Minor children of the decedent and adult children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse (except in medical malpractice cases);
- Parents of a deceased minor child and parents of an adult child if there is no surviving spouse or children (except in medical malpractice cases);
- Any blood relative or adopted siblings of the decedent who are partly or wholly dependent upon the decedent for support and services;
- In the case of the mother’s death, a child born out of wedlock; and,
- In the case of the father’s death, a child born out of wedlock who can prove the father was financially responsible for them.
In Florida, there is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of death within which to file a wrongful death claim.
What Damages can be Recovered?
Recoverable damages vary depending on the beneficiary’s relationship with the decedent. But in general, beneficiaries can recover the value of lost support and services from the date of injury to date of death, and the future value of that loss. The surviving spouse can recover for loss of companionship and protection, and for mental pain and suffering in the past and to be sustained in the future. Children can recover for loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, and for mental pain and suffering.
Experienced Legal Counsel Can Help
If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident where someone else was at fault, you can hold that person liable for your losses and damages. But you can’t do it alone. You need an experienced, compassionate, and aggressive attorney with a proven record of taking on insurance companies and helping clients get the justice they deserve.
I can help you evaluate the circumstances of your case, devise strategies for establishing liability and fault in your loved one’s death, and handle communications with insurers and other entities on your behalf. Call for a free consultation. I proudly serve clients in Jacksonville Beach, Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine and throughout the State of Florida.