Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
There are few events that can occur in a person’s lifetime quite as tragic as experiencing the death of a loved one due to the negligent or deliberately wrongful actions of another person. There is truly nothing that can make up for the loss of a person whose life was cut unnecessarily short; however, those left behind may be able to obtain damages from the responsible party by filing a wrongful death claim.
At the Charpentier Law Firm in Melbourne, wrongful death suits are expertly handled by personal injury attorneys who show exceptional compassion to the families of deceased victims, but who are aggressive and relentless in the pursuit of compensation on their behalf. Our lawyers have extensive experience and a history of success in representing families in wrongful death lawsuits. We know Florida wrongful death laws inside and out, and we would be honored to provide you with the legal support and guidance you deserve during your time of greatest need.
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Florida?
Each state has its own laws and statutes governing who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, and Florida’s laws and statutes are more specific than most. In fact, Florida’s laws very clearly lay out who may file the claim and which types of damages they are eligible to collect. Depending on the claimant’s relationship to the deceased victim, he or she may be extremely limited in the sorts of damages to which he or she is entitled.
In terms of the ability to file a wrongful death claim, the first right of this duty is generally offered to the surviving spouse, if one exists. The surviving spouse is eligible to seek compensation for a full range of damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of intimacy
- Lost household services
- Loss of economic support
- Lost future wages and benefits
Surviving blood relatives, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren who were partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for support, may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for the value of that lost support. However, these parties would not be able to seek damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and similarly intangible damages - except for surviving offspring under the age of 25, who may seek such intangible damages, including loss of parental guidance and companionship.
The representative of the estate, whether he or she falls into any of the above-mentioned categories or not, may further seek compensation for medical bills and funeral expenses. However, if the representative of the estate as named in the deceased’s will or appointed by the courts is not a surviving spouse or child under the age of 25, he or she may not request damages beyond compensation for medical bills and funeral expenses. This means that, in most cases, even grieving children who are aged 25 or older are not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, even though their pain and suffering may be substantial.
There are exceptions to nearly every rule, however. The best way to ensure that your rights as a family member of a wrongful death victim are protected is to contact our personal injury attorneys today. We would be pleased to evaluate your case and advise you of your legal rights and options.