If a friend, family member, or loved one has passed away unexpectedly as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you know how emotionally draining and devastating it is. In addition to grappling with questions of how this terrible tragedy could have occurred, you could also be facing major financial hardship.
You may have the grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. While no amount of money can undo the harm that’s been caused by a wrongful death, seeking wrongful death damages can ease the financial burden that you’ve been left to shoulder.
What is a wrongful death case?
A wrongful death case is a civil action brought by the survivors of someone who passed away because of another party’s wrongdoing. This type of lawsuit is separate from any criminal proceedings stemming from the same case. Every state has rules on who can file a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations to file the case, and what wrongful death damages can be recovered.
It’s crucial that you work with an experienced wrongful death lawyer who is not only well-versed in the state laws that will govern your case but also has a proven track record of winning wrongful death lawsuits. Wrongful death cases may require a great deal of investigation, negotiation, and a willingness to go to trial.
Work with a lawyer who will aggressively seek wrongful death damages on your behalf.
Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Every state differs in what wrongful death damages can be recovered. Florida’s wrongful death cases are governed by the Florida Wrongful Death Act. The Act specifies the following recoverable damages for Floridians seeking a wrongful death lawsuit:
Damages experienced by the decedent:
- Medical expenses from the injury that led to the wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Net accumulations, which is the amount of money the decedent would have leftover from their income after any bills they would have paid.
Damages experienced by the decedent’s survivors:
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of financial support for the survivors that the decedent would have contributed over their lifetime
Remember that the wrongful death damages that can be recovered depend entirely on the state in which the case is filed. Depending on your case, there may be other damages that you can recover. Consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can advise you on what damages you may be able to seek.
What’s the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case?
Similar to the wrongful death damages that can be recovered, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case varies by the state and the type of case.
According to Florida Statute 95.11(4), the statute of limitations for most wrongful death cases is two years from the date of death. However, if your wrongful death case stems from medical malpractice or misconduct within a nursing home or assisted living facility, you have two years from when you discovered or should have discovered the misconduct that led to the wrongful death, not to exceed four years from the date of the death.
Who can recover wrongful death damages?
In Florida, who qualifies as a “survivor” of a wrongful death victim depends on what kind of case is being pursued. In general, minor children less than 25 years of age and the spouse of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim.
If the deceased did not have any minor children or a spouse at the time of death, adult children can seek special damages for loss of companionship or pain and suffering. If the deceased had no children and was unmarried, their parents can seek wrongful death damages.
An important note is that an exception to many wrongful death cases is medical malpractice lawsuits. Adult children and the decedent’s parents are not entitled to recover wrongful death damages, even if they are the only survivors.
Work with an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you lost a loved one due to another party’s wrongdoing or negligence, you may be able to seek recovery in the form of wrongful death damages. The experienced wrongful death lawyers at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath do everything they can to maximize recovery for survivors of wrongful death victims.
Our team has successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients and have the necessary experience to help you pursue your case. If you have questions or wish to schedule a risk-free case evaluation, call our team at (561) 655-1990.
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