Who Is Allowed To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Florida?
Was your loved one killed in a fatal accident? It is one of the most heartbreaking and gut-wrenching things that any person can ever be forced to endure. A civil wrongful death claim provides a legal remedy. Families can bring a claim to seek justice, closure, and financial support to help them through a trying time. Unfortunately, not every person who was close to the victim has rights under Florida’s wrongful death law. In this article, our Orlando wrongful death lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of Florida’s eligibility rules for wrongful death claims.
A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Must Be Filed By a Personal Representative of the Estate
There are many U.S. states in which surviving family members are permitted to directly file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, that is not how the process operates in Florida. A wrongful death claim must be filed by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The personal representative can be an individual or institution. If the victim had a valid will, the personal representative will likely be named in that will. If no representative has been designated, or if the named representative is unable/unwilling to serve, a court will appoint a representative.
The Personal Representative is Responsible for Listing “Interested Parties”
Once appointed, the personal representative has a significant role in the wrongful death claim process, particularly in listing the “interested parties” to the lawsuit. These parties are typically close relatives who were financially or emotionally dependent on the deceased. According to Florida law, these may include the decedent’s:
- Parents, and
- Other qualifying dependents.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages May Be Recovered
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 768.21), surviving family members are allowed to pursue economic and non-economic damages as part of a wrongful death claim. Although no amount of damages would ever be sufficient to make things right, compensation is crucial to ensure justice and accountability. It is the best remedy that the civil legal system has to offer. Here is an overview of the types of financial compensation that may be recoverable in a Florida wrongful death claim:
- Economic Damages: Economic damages include tangible financial losses resulting from the decedent’s death, such as lost income, medical expenses, and funeral costs.
- Non-Economic Damages: Non-economic damages, on the other hand, represent intangible losses like mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship and protection. The precise damages available depend on the decedent’s relationship with the various survivors.
Contact Our Central Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Florida wrongful death lawyer is a compassionate, experienced, and justice-focused representative for grieving families. We have what it takes to help you and your loved ones get closure and accountability after a fatal accident. Contact us right away for a free, strictly confidential initial consultation. With office locations in Orlando and Miami, our law firm is well-situated to handle wrongful death claims throughout all of Florida.