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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Losing a loved one is one of the hardest challenges you'll face in life, but your grief can be compounded if you discover that they've been killed due to carelessness or negligence. If an individual or an organization has caused the death of a loved one, you'll want to know what action you can take to ensure they're held responsible.
Perhaps your loved one was one of over 300 people killed in fatal workplace accidents in Florida each year? Or maybe they were killed in one of Florida's 2,950 fatal road traffic accidents? Whatever the cause, if someone or something contributed to their death, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.What Is a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil law claim that can be made when someone dies. The claim is made against the person or organization you believe is responsible for your loved one's death and, if the court finds in your favor, they will award damages. Although a wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal case and does not mean that a person or company will be held criminally responsible for the incident, it can give grieving families a sense that justice has been done by holding someone accountable.Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Generally, the Personal Representative of the deceased's estate must be the person who brings the lawsuit. However, the claim should name every family member who was dependent on the deceased, so that damages can be accurately calculated.
Typically, there are certain groups of people who can be named in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. These are:
- The surviving spouse
- Minor children (under the age of 25)
- Adult children (over the age of 25), if there is no surviving spouse
- Each parent of a minor child
- The parents of an adult child, if there are no other people to be named
When you work with a wrongful death lawyer to make a claim, you will technically be making a claim on behalf of the deceased. As a result, the estate will seek to obtain damages, but damages can also be awarded to the individuals named in the lawsuit.
For example, the estate may seek damages for loss of future earnings, loss of net accumulations and the cost of medical treatments before the deceased passed away. In contrast, the individuals who were dependent on the deceased may be awarded damages for lost support and services, loss of companionship, guidance, protection and instruction, funeral expenses and/or pain and suffering.Should You Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an obstacle, but making a wrongful death claim can alleviate some of the practical and financial burdens you might be facing. By seeking advice from an experienced lawyer, you can find out more about taking legal action following a wrongful death and decide if it's the right way for you to move forward.