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Wrongful Death

Personal Injury resulting in Wrongful Death

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought because someone died as the result of negligence, recklessness, or intentional behavior committed by another person or entity. If your claim is successful, you will receive financial compensation from the at-fault party. These claims can result from any death that is caused by the negligence of another person or entity.

Wrongful death claims can result from a wide range of negligent acts. Some of the most common examples of wrongful death claims include car accidents, sporting accidents, violent crime, motorcycle accidents, or slip and fall injuries.

Often, these claims will lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are filed against the at-fault party, but they might not be the only individuals interested in the case. The insurance company for the defendant will have a keen interest if a policy was in place that could cover the death.

Family members who may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case and who are allowed to bring suit include the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents, and, any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is "partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”

If a child is born to unmarried parents, the child can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. If the child's father dies, however, the child can only recover damages if the father had formally recognized the child as his own and was obligated to contribute to the support of the child.

A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases, according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d). The deadline may be "tolled," or postponed, under a few very specific circumstances. An attorney with experience handling Florida wrongful death cases can help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires in your case.

It's critical to understand and follow the deadline set by the statute of limitations, otherwise you could lose your right to bring your wrongful death lawsuit to court.

Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state's rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages that surviving family members may receive in these kinds of cases include the value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member, loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person, mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child, and, medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person. 

The deceased person's estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived, lost "prospective net accumulations" of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived, and, medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
 

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It is imperative that you immediately get in touch with an experienced attorney, skilled in wrongful death cases. The first stages following a wrongful death are the most important as the preparation required can be extensive and indeed should be, to give your case the best possible foundation.