If you are a Florida resident who lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, know that it doesn’t have to end like this. You can issue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties and at least recover some financial compensation for your loss.
A wrongful death lawyer can help you receive the compensation you are entitled to and more! However, there are some things that you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits and how they work in Florida. If you want to determine your eligibility to pursue a wrongful death claim, read on.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida: How They Work
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that someone can initiate when a loved one dies due to another person or entity’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. The lawsuit is mostly brought forth by the surviving family members or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
Generally, there is a specific order of priority regarding who can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, the family member with the highest right to pursue a wrongful death claim is the decedent’s surviving spouse, followed by the parents of the decedent, children, and lastly, other blood relatives or estate representatives financially dependent on the deceased.
Wrongful death claims often arise when a loved one dies due to:
- Hazardous property conditions that a property owner didn’t highlight, such as not implementing safety measures, signs, or other warning elements
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Defective products and other conditions
If you wish to initiate a wrongful death claim in Florida, you have only two years to file a claim since the date of the loved one’s death. This is known as the statute of limitations. There are some exceptions, though, such as in the case of medical malpractice.
If you did not know that your loved one’s untimely passing occurred due to medical malpractice, the statute of limitations can be extended, and you can still pursue legal action and seek justice.
Elements That You Need to Prove in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death lawsuit is a serious legal procedure for all parties involved. Because of this, if you want to pursue such a legal claim, you need to ensure that you prove the following elements in your case:
- The party that you deem responsible for your loved one’s untimely departure owed a duty of care to the deceased, such as providing a medical standard of care or driving responsibly while behind the wheel
- That party or group of individuals breached their duty of care, such as driving while under the influence or they didn’t follow traffic signs
- The fact that this breach of duty led to the death of your loved one
- You or your family suffered financially and emotionally as a result of the death
Taking the Right Steps in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Proving the elements required in a wrongful death claim while also dealing with losing your loved one can be overwhelming. However, if you work closely with a wrongful death lawyer, you can receive the necessary compensation for your family’s incurred medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost income, loss of companionship and support, pain and suffering.
In some instances, you can further seek justice and pursue punitive damages as a form of punishment against the at-fault party if their actions were particularly egregious. In many instances, your lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence and prepare your case to such an extent that you won’t need to worry about a thing while the process of your claim is underway.