If your spouse died as a result of another person’s negligence, the feelings are overwhelming. On top of grieving a death that came too soon, you may also be dealing with hospital bills and other medical expenses. The last thing you should have to do after losing a spouse is worry about how you’re going to manage things financially.
You may be qualified to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for your damages. Wrongful death claims are different from murder or homicide cases in that they’re brought to civil court rather than criminal court.
With the help of a Florida wrongful death lawyer, you can seek compensation for your losses.
What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
According to Florida Statute § 678.18, if a person’s death was caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract” of another individual, the surviving members of the estate (typically a spouse, minor child under 25, or the parents of the decedent) can file a wrongful death claim.
The statute of limitations, or window of time, to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is set at two years from the time of death. However, there are certain cases where a personal representative or lawyer for the family can file for an extension. Extensions are not always accepted and the majority of wrongful death claims in Florida are only accepted within the prescribed window of time.
Two years may seem like more than enough time to file a wrongful death claim. However, when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, handling funeral arrangements, and taking care of the day-to-day responsibilities that need to be met, navigating a complex legal system is usually not on the surviving family members’ minds.
Potential Wrongful Death Damages
There is no amount of money in the world that can make up for losing a spouse prematurely. While the monetary compensation you may collect does not make things whole, it can help ease any financial stress you may be experiencing in the aftermath of your loss.
Under Florida Statute § 768.21, surviving spouses may claim the following damages in a wrongful death claim:
- Medical bills, services, and support expenses incurred from the decedent’s injury to their death
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Lost wage, loss of future earnings, and benefits provided by the decedent from date of injury to date of death with interest
- Loss of prospective net accumulations for the estate
- Funeral and burial expenses
An experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer can help you maximize your recovery. While money can never right the wrong you’ve suffered nor bring back your loved one, it can help you cover the damages listed above and let you grieve in peace.
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
How can I prove a wrongful death claim?
Proving wrongful death in Florida can be difficult. You’ll need to establish the following elements in your case to prove wrongful death:
- Duty of Care: The person held liable had a responsibility of “due care” to the victim.
- Breach of Duty: The breach or failure of the defendant to uphold that duty of “due care.”
- Causation: Proof that the breach of duty directly caused the victim’s death.
- Damages: Proof the victim actually suffered damages (in wrongful death cases, “death” would be the primary damage caused, but there may be others)
Common wrongful death cases our firm has handled include:
- Car or truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Drunk driving
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Other acts of negligence
Call a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we do everything we can to serve our clients with compassion, respect, and the advocacy they deserve. Our firm uses its collective knowledge and experience to help countless spouses recover damages in wrongful death claims. Losing a spouse is a terrible tragedy and nobody deserves to suffer financially in the aftermath of such a loss.
To learn more about how we handle wrongful death cases in Florida, call us at (561) 655-1990. We urge you to schedule a risk-free case evaluation so we can better understand your situation and ensure we have time to pursue your case within the statute of limitations.