In Florida and throughout the nation, deaths can be intentional or they
can be completely accidental. So, intentional deaths would be criminal
offenses, whereas accidental deaths would subject the wrongdoer to a civil
lawsuit. Sometimes however, an accidental death, such as the case of a
drunk driver taking someone else’s life, can be criminal in nature.
In fact, if a drunk or drugged driver takes someone else’s life,
he or she could face both criminal charges and a wrongful death lawsuit.
A “wrongful death” action arises in the case of an accidental
death. Essentially, state laws were enacted all over the country to deter
people from reckless and irresponsible behavior that could result in death.
Under wrongful death laws, if someone “accidentally” kills
another person, the at-fault party can face a civil lawsuit. Wrongful
death lawsuits often arise under the following circumstances:
Florida’s Wrongful Death Laws
Under Florida law, wrongful death claims are brought on by the personal
representative of the decedent’s estate. If a decedent dies without
a will or trust in place, the court appoints a personal representative
to handle the deceased person’s estate. Even though personal representatives
are the ones to file wrongful death claims in Florida, they file these
claims on behalf of the decedent’s surviving family members.
Which family members can recover damages?
- The decedent’s spouse.
- The decedent’s children.
- The decedent’s parents.
- The decedent’s blood relatives or adopted sibling who were supported
partially or fully by the decedent prior to their death.
Florida Statutes Section 95.11(4)(d), wrongful death claims must be filed within
two years of the date of death in most situations. Under very limited circumstances,
the deadline or “statute of limitations” may be delayed.
To learn more about filing a wrongful death claim in West Palm Beach and
the types of damages available,
contact the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A. for a free consultation!