Our compassionate wrongful death lawyers at Lusk, Drasites, & Tolisano represent families who have lost loved ones because of someone else’s negligence. Surviving spouses and family members have the right to take legal action against the wrongdoer and pursue compensation.
Florida laws, however, contain very specific rules about these wrongful death cases. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, retaining a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible can help you preserve your legal rights.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Florida has enacted laws allowing for the recovery of damages when a wrongful death occurs as a result of negligence or other malfeasance. The goal is to provide survivors of the deceased person with financial compensation to lessen the blow of the negligent acts that caused the loss of life. A surviving spouse or family member can assert the claims that the decedent would have been entitled to bring if he or she had lived.
A personal representative must be appointed in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. He or she will initiate the legal action on behalf of any surviving family members or the estate of the deceased person. The personal representative will then be responsible for presenting evidence and proving the elements of negligence. These consist of the defendant’s duty of care, a breach of duty by the defendant, a causal link connecting the breach to the wrongful death, and actual damages that were incurred as a result.
There may be a situation when someone dies during the course of a personal injury lawsuit. When this happens, the case is temporarily suspended to allow a personal representative to be appointed. The personal injury claim then is usually amended to become a wrongful death claim.
The time frame in which this must happen is limited, however. If a party passes away, there must be a motion to substitute within 90 days from the date of death. It therefore becomes important to work with competent legal counsel to ensure that deadlines are observed and a personal representative is chosen. Otherwise, a court may dismiss the case in its entirety, which cuts off any legal recourse available for the survivors of a victim of negligence.
Wrongful Death Damages
There are a variety of damages that may be sought in a wrongful death claim, and their availability often depends on the relatives’ relationship with the deceased person. Medical and funeral expenses are two of the most commonly sought types of compensation. In addition, survivors may attempt to recover damages for lost financial support and lost earnings.
A surviving spouse may seek compensation for loss of companionship as well as mental pain and suffering. Children may similarly request damages for loss of parental companionship and guidance, in addition to mental pain and suffering. The calculation of the appropriate amounts can be a complex process, and it may require an assessment of the decedent’s earnings and life expectancy.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
Under Florida law, there is a strict time limit on bringing this type of claim. Known as a statute of limitations, this rule requires that a case be brought within 2 years from the date of the death. Since these claims include the additional considerations of finding and appointing a personal representative, it is crucial to not delay legal action. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations usually will bar the possibility of recovering compensation.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you or someone you love has experienced a personal loss due to the negligence of a person or business, contact the wrongful death lawyers at Lusk, Drasites, & Tolisano to discuss your potential claims.
A wrongful death case can be overwhelming. Our Florida wrongful death attorneys understand the devastating impact the death of a loved one can have, and we are ready to protect your legal rights. To speak with a wrongful death attorney, call us toll free at (800) 283-7442.