who can file a wrongful death claim

When you lose a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages. You may be wondering, “Who can file a wrongful death claim?”

Nothing can ever replace the individual you lost, but a wrongful death lawsuit can help you recover damages. These can prevent you from going into debt and ensure your loved one gets the proper burial they deserve.

Deciding to pursue a wrongful death settlement can be very complicated. You will be navigating a complex legal field while dealing with intense emotions due to your grief. It is recommended that you hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer who understands the process and can get you the maximum compensation for your loss.


What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a method of seeking reimbursement or compensation for the losses you suffered as a result of the death of your loved one.

It is by no means a way to replace your loved one or to assign a monetary value to their life. Wrongful death claims can occur in a number of fatal circumstances. These include:

  • Fatal car accidents
  • Elder abuse
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace injuries
  • Homicide
  • Product liability
  • Slip and falls
  • Accidental poisoning


At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we believe that filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the best way to protect others from suffering the same fate as your loved one. Holding the liable party accountable discourages them from making the same error again. It also shows society that this negligence will not be tolerated.

Our expert team of wrongful death lawyers will help you determine a fair settlement amount and collect strong evidence for your case so you get the compensation you’re entitled to.


Who can file a wrongful death settlement?

In Florida, wrongful death settlements can only be filed by and paid out to the direct family. This includes spouses, children, parents, and potentially, siblings. However, siblings can only collect wrongful death damages if the aforementioned family members are not living. 

In some cases, if these individuals do not file a wrongful death settlement in time, the deceased’s estate or personal representative may file a wrongful death settlement on behalf of the individual’s estate. This can occur if the victim’s family is estranged.


Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

The individual filing a wrongful death claim will have to prove that the liable party owed them a duty of care. This is a standard guideline for negligence that determines whether the person should have acted with more care toward the deceased. For example, drivers on the road have a duty of care to other drivers to avoid causing them harm. If you’re wondering who can file a wrongful death claim, contact one of our Florida wrongful death attorneys for more advice. 

After duty is established, a breach of this duty must be proven. Did the liable party ignore this duty of care? For example, drivers who speed or run red lights are not maintaining their duty to other drivers on the road.

Did this breach cause the deceased’s death? Just because an individual was negligent doesn’t mean that they are responsible for your loved one’s death. For example, someone who litters is breaching their duty to maintain the environment that we all share. However, they will not be found liable if you crash your car next to them.

To seek damages, this negligence must have resulted in losses. The plaintiff will need to present evidence of the victim’s death and the losses that they have suffered as a result. 


Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful death damages aren’t limited to the direct costs of the deceased’s medical expenses and funeral costs. Their family members suffer far more than this.

Wrongful death damages include a mix of financial losses and emotional losses that are expected to be recovered by the settlement.

You may be able to collect the following damages:

  • Loss of income of the deceased
  • Loss of the deceased’s contributions to the household’s chores and any childcare
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Deceased’s pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Family’s pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of care and guidance
  • Loss of inheritance


To collect these damages, you will need the assistance of an expert wrongful death lawyer in West Palm Beach. Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath are here to support you through this difficult time and ensure you are not financially impacted by the death of your loved one.

We have taken on hospitals, insurance companies, and corporations to fight for our client’s rights to bigger payouts. We do this, not for the money, but to send a message to the community: we will not tolerate negligence, especially if it causes the needless death of one of our members.


Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death states that you must bring a lawsuit against the liable parties within two years of the date of your loved one’s death. If you fail to file your lawsuit during this period, it is unlikely that your case will be heard in court.

Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations is like leaving money on the table. It lets the liable party off the hook and allows them to continue acting negligently, potentially causing more deaths.

Our team at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath don’t want to see that happen. We will file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations to give you the best chance of seeking financial damages and getting justice for your loss.


Speak to a Wrongful Death Attorney

Who can file a wrongful death claim may be confusing. Wrongful death cases make the loss of a loved one that much more painful. You know that it could have been avoided. Unfortunately, there are many ways to lose a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness: automobile accidents, workplace injury, falls, medical malpractice, and more. 

No matter how your loved one died, our wrongful death lawyers are here to ensure you get the closure you deserve.

who can file a wrongful death claim

Losing a loved one is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a person. If that loss was due to someone else’s negligence, it can be more challenging to overcome your grief.

When these tragic accidents happen, you need closure. One of the best ways to get justice for your lost loved one is to file a wrongful death claim, where you can get financial compensation so you aren’t in debt for someone else’s mistake.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow you to get closure by holding the negligent party responsible. However, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim in Florida.

What is a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death claim is a personal injury lawsuit where the negligent party’s actions resulted in the death of your loved one. Whether the action was intentional or not, the at-fault party is liable to pay for the damage that they caused.

Wrongful deaths can occur in a variety of personal injury situations, including:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Auto accidents
  • Pedestrian collisions
  • Defective products
  • Slip and falls
  • Homicide

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit allows you to seek financial compensation to help offset the losses resulting from the death of your loved one. It is also a way to seek justice for the negligent death and to prevent future accidents from resulting in the loss of someone else’s life.

Although no criminal charges can be pressed in a wrongful death lawsuit, the justice that families gain from this form of civil suit can help them get closure for their loss.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Florida?

According to Florida Statute Section 768.19, only the Personal Representative named in the deceased person’s will may file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased died without a Personal Representative, one will be named by the court.

Personal Representative is another term for an estate trustee or executor, someone named by the deceased to handle the distribution of their estate. In most cases, it is a spouse, family member, or close friend. This person will act in the interest of the deceased’s estate.

Ultimately, the damages recovered by the claim will not be given to the Personal Representative. It is added to the deceased’s estate and distributed to all the named heirs. This means that a wrongful death claim involves everyone named in the deceased’s will, such as their spouse, children, and adoptive relatives.

Additionally, the family of the deceased can sue for damages that affected them due to the negligent death. For example, they can file a claim for pain and suffering or lost income that the deceased provided to their household.

The family members that can sue are:

  • Spouses
  • Minor children
  • Adult children, if there is no surviving spouse
  • The deceased’s parents, when there are no other survivors

Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

Wrongful death claims in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased’s death. This means that if the individual dies due to medical malpractice from five years prior, you can still file a wrongful death claim.

Speak to an attorney if the statute of limitations has expired. In some circumstances, they can ask for a postponed claim.

What damages can you collect?

Civil court cases can only be resolved through financial means. According to the Florida Statutes Section 768.21, the estate and the survivors are both entitled to damages for the negligent death.

The estate can file for damages relating to the deceased, including their emotional suffering leading up to their death. The Personal Representative will represent the estate to collect damages that the deceased lost due to the accident. For example:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses (since these are often paid out of the estate)
  • Lost earnings
  • Loss of net accumulations, determined based on how much more the estate would have been worth if the individual had not perished due to negligence
  • Pain and suffering while the deceased was alive

The survivors, such as spouses and children, can file claims for their losses relating to the negligent death. These are financial and emotional losses that they suffered as a direct result of losing their loved one.

These include:

  • Loss of support
  • Loss of financial contribution to the household
  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Any expenses paid by the survivor that related to the deceased’s hospital bills and/or funeral expenses

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Florida for Assistance

Before worrying about who can file a wrongful death claim, you must first establish that the deceased’s passing was due to wrongful death. From there, you can make sure that you are eligible to file for compensation under Florida law.

Many factors can complicate your ability to file a wrongful death claim, including nuances of relationships and financial dependency issues.

Wrongful death claims are much more complex than basic personal injury claims. You should always seek legal counsel from an experienced wrongful death attorney before you file a wrongful death claim in Florida. If you don’t, you risk losing your opportunity to collect damages that are rightfully owed to you.

Ensure you get justice for your loved one and prevent another deadly accident from occurring with the help of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. Our Florida wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations so we can show you our value before you commit to working with us.

Read More: