As you are surely aware, personal injuries can be the result of intentional
actions or by negligence. When someone intentionally injures someone,
they can face criminal charges for assault, aggravated assault, manslaughter
or murder – you get the picture. But, what if it was an accident?
In the event of accidental injuries, the at-fault party can be subject to a
civil lawsuit in the form of a
personal injury or
wrongful death claim.
For the purpose of this post, we are going to discuss wrongful death actions
in Florida. What is a wrongful death claim? It’s a type of civil
lawsuit that can be filed against someone whose negligence led to the
untimely, accidental death of an innocent party.
Personal Representatives File Wrongful Death Claims
Under Florida law, the personal representative of the decedent’s
estate must file the wrongful death claim. Often, the personal representative
is named in the decedent’s will. If the decedent died intestate
(without a will), the probate court will elect a personal representative
to administer the decedent’s estate. To learn more about wrongful
death actions, see
Section 768.19 of the Florida Statutes.
Even though the personal representative is the one to file the wrongful
death claim, he or she files the action on behalf of the decedent’s
surviving family members. The following types of close relatives are able
to recover damages in a Florida wrongful death claim:
- The decedent’s spouse,
- The decedent’s children,
- The decedent’s parents, and
- Any adoptive sibling or blood relative who was dependent on the decedent
for financial support.
Suppose a child is born to unmarried parents. If the child’s mother
dies, he or she is entitled to recover damages. If the child’s father
dies, the child cannot recover damages unless paternity was legally established
and the father was obligated to pay child support.
Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Each state has enacted a “statute of limitations” or deadline
for filing a wrongful death claim. In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit
must be filed within
two years of the date of death under
Section 95.11(4)(d) of the Florida Statues, with limited exceptions.
Looking for a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer to file a wrongful
Contact our firm today; we’re
available 24/7 to take your call.