If you lost a loved one in an accident, the last thing you want to think about is heading to court. But if your spouse, parent, sibling or child was killed because of someone else’s willful, negligent or reckless, act, you have the right to recover for your loss.
It is almost unthinkable to put your relationship with the deceased in terms of money, but bringing a wrongful death case against the person at fault can bring justice and closure to your family. Additionally, if the deceased was the breadwinner for their family, a financial recovery may be the only real way to move forward.
Who Must File & Who Can Recover
Under Florida Statutes Section 768.21, any potential beneficiary of the decedent should be named in a wrongful death suit along with their relationship to the deceased individual. However, not just anyone can file the lawsuit. The personal representative of the estate is required to file the actual complaint on behalf of the beneficiaries. If a representative was not named in a will, the court will appoint one.
Spouses, children, parents and any relative who was dependent on the decedent can seek to recover, but the recovery each beneficiary can receive depends on their relationship to the deceased.
Each person can recover for the loss of support and services they would have received had the person lived. Whoever paid for the medical expenses and funeral can recover those costs. Spouses, minor children, parents of adult or minor children can recover for pain and suffering as well.
The estate can recover the decedent’s lost wages and other earnings, future net accumulations from the estate, and any medical and funeral expenses paid by the estate.
Florida Statute of Limitations
The personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate must file a wrongful death suit within four years of the date of death. This time limit is only extended in a few exceptional circumstances.
Contact a Legal Representative Right Away
If you lost a loved one in an accident, it is best to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Your situation may require an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.
The attorneys at Oldham & Smith understand how difficult it can be to consider the law when you are grieving, and they will do whatever they can to guide you through the legal process. For more information, call (352) 292-1620 or contact us online.