If you have recently lost a loved one as a result of a wrongful death, this article will discuss who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida and the steps a family member must take to file a lawsuit.
Understandably, extended family members can grieve the loss of a loved one, particularly if it was caused by negligence. However, only certain family members are allowed to file a lawsuit and receive any damages awarded within a wrongful death claim .
Only one person can file a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The state of Florida allows only the personal representative of the estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased has no will or estate plan, the personal representative can be named after the victim's death.
With the help of a wrongful death lawyer, the personal representative can file a wrongful death suit. However, any damages are paid to the victim's estate in order to benefit their survivors and dependents. The personal representative must identify all survivors who have an interest in the case, so that they can legally claim a portion. Any amount paid in legal damages will be distributed as part of the estate. This ensures that all family members involved are taken care of.
Family members who can collect damages in a wrongful death claim
Beneficiaries are family members who can claim damages in a wrongful-death case. A beneficiary can seek compensation for a variety of reasons that were the result of the death of a loved one.
- Payment of any funeral or burial expenses that are paid out-of-pocket
- Between the accident and the resultant death, expenses for medical treatment such as surgery and hospitalization incurred by a loved one
- Award for the pain and suffering the victim suffered between the accident and the death.
Florida's wrongful-death laws permit beneficiaries to seek compensation for victims' losses as well as their personal losses due to the death of a loved. These damages could include lost future income, loss of benefits, increased costs to become a single parent, as well as other financial consequences directly related to the unexpected death of a loved one.
The Florida Wrongful-Death Act outlines which relatives can be considered beneficiaries. Below is a list of the victim's eligible family members:
- Spouse. A surviving spouse can claim the loss of companionship and comfort as well as the compensation for emotional trauma caused by the sudden death of a partner.
- Children. Children below the age of adulthood may be entitled to damages for any lost benefits, including guidance, protection, and emotional support.
- Parents. Parents can sue the responsible party for damages due to their relationship with the child and loss of future comfort.
- Family members who are dependent. The state law also allows for damages to be collected from other dependant relatives, such as adoptive brothers and sisters of the victim.
- Children born to unmarried parents. Florida law allows children of unmarried parents to claim damages for their mother's wrongful deaths. A child cannot recover damages for unmarried father's death if the father has not formally acknowledged the child as his and made an obligation to support him.
If your family recently suffered the unexpected sudden loss of your loved one as a result of another person’s negligence, let us say, "you don’t have to go at it alone". Our wrongful death lawyer is prepared to assist you with your case. However, there is a limited time period in which to file a lawsuit before the victim's family members lose their right to damages, so you shouldn't wait too long to consult with an experienced attorney to assist you . Get in touch with us today for your free consultation.