When a loved one is killed by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, it’s devastating. Not only are their family and friends grieving an unexpected loss, but if the deceased provided financial, emotional and other kinds of support for their family, the survivors may be left floundering.
Wrongful death lawsuits can help recover damages for a loved one’s untimely death. Here’s what you need to know about who can file them and how long you have to do so.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit, which alleges that the defendant’s negligent conduct was the cause of the victim’s death. Normally, the only person who can bring a personal injury suit is the person who was injured by the conduct—but in these claims, the victim is unable to file. Wrongful death lawsuits are filed on behalf of the deceased, and who can file a claim depends on the state.
How to file a wrongful death claim in Florida
In Florida, wrongful death claims can only be filed by the deceased’s estate’s personal representative, also known as an executor. The estate has just two years to file a claim, in contrast to Florida’s general four-year personal injury statute of limitations. The estate must prove that the defendant negligently or recklessly caused the death, by a preponderance of the evidence.
Wrongful death damages
Wrongful death damages are financial, as opposed to criminal charges, which may result in jail time. If successful, the estate may recover damages for medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of support and services provided to family members, mental pain and suffering, loss of companionship and more.
If you have a wrongful death claim, talk to the compassionate Manatee County, FL accident attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh to explore your options.