Losing a loved one is an incredibly painful experience that can be even more devastating when it happens due to someone else’s negligence. In Florida, as in many other states, there are legal remedies available for those who have lost a family member due to such circumstances.
Filing a wrongful death claim is the first step in the process of seeking legal action in this type of situation. Knowing the basics of the process will make it easier to navigate the process during a trying time.
What constitutes wrongful death?
Wrongful death in Florida occurs when the negligence of another party causes someone’s death. Car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents and defective products can all result in wrongful death. If the deceased person would have had grounds to pursue a personal injury claim had they survived, their family can pursue a wrongful death claim.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In Florida, only specific family members are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. These include spouses, children, parents and other dependents who relied on the deceased for financial support. The statute of limitations is typically two years from the date of the person’s death.
How does the process work?
When a family is ready to pursue legal action for the wrongful death of a loved one, there are a few key steps in the process to be aware of:
- Filing a complaint: The process begins with filing a wrongful death complaint in the appropriate Florida court. This document outlines the details of the case and identifies the responsible party.
- Discovery: Both sides gather evidence, interview witnesses and exchange information during the discovery phase.
- Negotiation or trial: In some cases, parties may negotiate a settlement. If not, the case goes to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
When a wrongful death claim is successful, the family can secure several types of damages. These include economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that 224,935 people died due to unintentional injuries in 2021. While not all of those were due to the negligence of a third party, it remains the case that wrongful death is an unfortunately common occurrence. Knowing how to seek justice and compensation after such a tragedy can help families receive closure and a relatively favorable outcome.