Wrongful Death In Florida
Losing a loved one suddenly is one of the most traumatic experiences that most people will have during their lifetime. If that loss comes about as a result of another person’s negligent or reckless behavior, it can feel like adding insult to injury. Because of this, many people do not want to seek money damages against the person who caused the death – it may feel tacky or even pointless – but in general, it is a good idea to file suit, especially if the deceased person was the family breadwinner. You deserve compensation for the harm you have suffered.
Only Certain Family Members May Recover
Not every sudden death is considered wrongful under the law – unfortunately, some accidents simply happen, and they are no one’s fault. Florida law specifies that any death caused by “[a] wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty …” where another person would have been liable had the decedent lived may be categorized as both wrongful and compensable. The key provision is that if they had lived, the deceased person would have been able to file suit against the defendant.
Because of this, Florida law only allows certain members of a decedent’s intimate family to seek compensation for a wrongful death. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must actually file the claim, but the surviving spouse, minor children, parents, and any relative (via blood or adoption) who was dependent on the decedent for support and services are the ones who may recover damages.
To File Or Not To File?
If a family is still deciding whether to file suit against the person who allegedly caused the death of their loved one, there are two questions that most commonly push people toward No. The first is that Florida law establishes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death cases – in other words, a wrongful death suit may be filed for up to two years after the decedent’s passing, which is not much time. It can feel like ages to a bereaved family, but that time can pass in the blink of an eye, and once it is past, the matter is considered closed.
The second question that pushes some families not to file is if the fatality occurred in an auto accident. Florida has a no-fault auto insurance system, which usually means that people who are injured must, instead of filing suit against each other, file claims with their insurers to cover expenses. That said, if a person’s injuries prove fatal, Florida law explicitly specifies that the tort immunity is lifted – meaning that wrongful death suits can be filed in the standard manner.
Contact An Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is never easy, but it is crucial to be aware that you have the right to seek compensation from the person who allegedly caused their passing. An Orlando wrongful death attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can provide compassionate and knowledgeable representation at this difficult time. We know that money is no substitute for your loved one, but it is important to ensure that your family does not experience financial difficulties while you adjust to your new normal. Contact our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.