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What You Should Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim


Wrongful death claims in Florida are essentially unique forms of personal injury claims filed not by the injured party but by the surviving family members and loved ones of the injured party. This is only a brief explanation of wrongful death claims, though. The actual legal statute governing the many details and nuances of a wrongful death claim can take some effort to comprehend. It is important to have an understanding of it, though, just in case you need to file such a claim in the future.

Parties Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

You might know someone who passes away due to the negligence or recklessness of a third party, but that does not automatically mean you can file a wrongful death claim in pursuit of fair compensation. Each state has decided its own wrongful death laws that permit and prohibit certain people from trying to file a wrongful death claim. In Florida, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the only party that can file a wrongful death claim. Personal representatives are named in wills, trusts, and estate plans, or can be appointed by the court if no such named party exists at the time of the decedent’s passing.

The personal representative is tasked with filing a wrongful death claim and naming all parties who can recover damages through it, assuming it succeeds in securing a verdict or settlement from the liable party. The decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and dependent relatives are the only parties permitted under Florida law who can receive damages from a successful wrongful death claim. If none of these aforementioned parties exist, then it is unlikely a wrongful death claim can be pursued.

You must also be aware that wrongful death claims in Florida are restricted by a two-year statute of limitations that begins on the day the decedent passed away. Trying to file a wrongful death lawsuit after two years and one day will likely have it thrown out by the court. While it is possible to have this deadline extended, you should not assume it will be and talk to a Florida wrongful death attorney sooner than later to be safe.

Collectible Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

Since a wrongful death claim is a form of an injury claim, it goes through Florida civil court. Determining the damages that should be cited in a wrongful death claim can be altogether different from what you might expect in any other personal injury claim, though. It is important to know what damages you can claim and how to pursue them if you want to help yourself and your family find peace of mind through a maximized compensation amount.

Damages typically included in a wrongful death claim are:

  • Medical costs associated with the decedent’s final treatments.
  • Funeral and burial costs.
  • Lost value of interests that would have been paid to the estate.
  • Earnings the decedent probably would have earned in their lifetime.
  • Emotional trauma suffered by surviving family members.
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, or consortium.

Some of these damages are economic, like final medical costs, and can be totaled by looking at bills and receipts. Others are noneconomic, like emotional pain and suffering, which are trickier to calculate. Talk to an injury lawyer about how noneconomic damages are determined in a wrongful death claim.

We Fight for You When Tragedy Strikes

Have you lost a loved one to the negligent and reckless actions of a third party? You deserve compensation that helps you pay bills and eventually put the tragic event behind you. Paulsen Law Group and our Dunedin wrongful death attorney offer up compassionate and highly-experienced legal representation you can use to seek justice for your lost family member. While we pursue the opposition to empower your claim, we always take the time to check on you to make certain you are comfortable and confident with how your case is progressing.

Call us at 727.270.8260 to request a free case evaluation to learn more.

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