Florida Law And Wrongful Death Claims

Posted By : Aubrey Mead , on Oct, 2016


In Tampa, Florida, accidents take the lives of many of its citizens. Through no fault of their own, someone is struck and killed while walking home. He or she can also lose their life while on the job. The loss of a life can be truly shattering to the family and friends of the victim. Under Florida law, the survivors of this action can recover compensation. A wrongful death attorney can advise you on how, if, and when you bring a civil lawsuit to advance your claim.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

In its simplest terms, a wrongful death is a fatality resulting from the wrongful action or negligence of another party – individual or group. A wrongful death claim is based on the premise that this individual (or larger entity) is responsible for the premature death of the loved one. Florida Statues Section 678.18 describes the matter concisely, stating the death is considered wrongful when the individual dies from:

1. A wrongful act
2. Negligence
3. Default
4. Breach of contract

A layer can best determine whether the death constitutes a wrongful one.

Filing a Wrongful Death

Under Florida law, only specific people have the right to file a wrongful death claim. These individuals are either named as a representative in the will or estate plan or appointed by the court. The latter applies if no will or similar document exists naming a representative. However, the individual who files is not doing so on behalf of his or her self.

This personal representative of the deceased actually represents the entire estate and any living relatives holding an interest. A wrongful death attorney will help you list the members who may recover damages in Tampa under such circumstances. These include:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Offspring from a marriage. If the parents did not marry, the child can only recover damages from a father’s death if he formally acknowledged the child as his offspring and was obliged to provide support for the child. If the mother is the victim, the child automatically qualifies for damages.
  • Parents
  • Blood relatives still partially or completely dependent upon the deceased.
  • Adopted siblings still dependent fully or partially upon the deceased.

It is imperative the list is complete and filed before the statute of limitations (the time limit for filing a suit) runs out. In Florida, this is generally 4 years unless circumstances intervene to toll (postpone) the deadline. It is also important your lawyer makes certain that everything is reduced to a fiscal value. In a case of wrongful death, a plaintiff can only seek compensation in the form of monetary damages.

Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death lawyers are well versed in Florida law. They will help you prepare your civil case against the individual or group responsible for the death of your loved one. A wrongful death attorney is always there and ready to help you navigate the Tampa justice system to ensure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.

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