When Wrongful Death Occurs, How Do You Pick Up The Pieces?
Death is not a word that many people like to think of. Yes, it’s inevitable, but when it happens too soon, it’s a tragedy. Especially when it’s due to another party’s negligence.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the legal term that refers to a civil claim that can be brought abut on behalf of someone whose death was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Florida Statutes 786.16 – 786.26 outline the legislative intent behind Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute. When a family member has had their life cut short due to a preventable incident brought about by someone else’s recklessness, carelessness, or neglect, legal action can be taken by survivors of the deceased.
Who Are The Survivors?
Survivors of the deceased party are immediate family members who were wholly, or partially, dependent on the deceased person for support.
• A spouse
• Legally adopted siblings with financial dependency on the deceased
• Children born outside of the marriage for which the parent has established financial support
• Blood relatives with financial dependency on the deceased
Children who are born out of wedlock are automatically considered survivors if the deceased person is the mother. They are not, however, considered to be survivors of a deceased father unless the father had assumed responsibility for the child’s support. Sadly, friends, romantic partners with no legal union, and distant relatives are not eligible to file a wrongful death suit.
When a young child dies as a result of negligence, though they do not contribute to the family finances, parents may still sue for wrongful death. This is not as much about gaining financial compensation as it is about inflicting financial punishment upon the negligent party.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On A Wrongful Death?
There is a slim statute of limitations window regarding wrongful death lawsuits in Florida. Survivors have only two years to the date that their family member died as a result of a negligent act to bring about wrongful death action. The only exception to this statute is if the person died as the result of a homicide. Legislators understand that it can take many years for a responsible party to be identified and apprehended, so this gives survivors an unlimited time limit to file a wrongful death action.
What Is The Process For A Wrongful Death Case?
Wrongful death cases in Florida are very complex. There is a lot of confusion, fear, and anger involved on all sides of the suit. Due to the nature of a wrongful death action, Florida has very specific laws and guidelines for pursuing these claims. These are the first steps toward filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
• Designate a personal representative to act on behalf of the estate.
• Identify the survivors of the deceased.
• Gather all of the information regarding the untimely death.
• Create a claim against the negligent party.
Many times the initial claim will not settle, and a formal legal claim must be filed. This will be the start of a lawsuit. From there the process becomes more detailed, with both sides gathering and speaking to witnesses and doing all they can to support their case. This is why it’s important to have an experienced wrongful death attorney to help navigate the legal waters. A monetary settlement won’t bring back a loved one, but it can ease the financial burden that is left behind after someone else’s carelessness.
If you are looking for answers for the negligent death of a loved one visit our new law firm website at www.JusticePays.com.