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Wrongful Death Claims In Florida: Frequently Asked Questions

Wrongful death claims are brought about by the grieving relatives of those killed due to another party's negligence or intentional actions. Unlike a criminal claim, wrongful death claims are brought against the guilty party in civil court and punishment means paying the survivors for their losses, not prison.

Every state's wrongful death laws are different. If you want to bring a claim in Florida, these are the answers to some of the most frequent questions people ask:

1. How long do you have to bring a wrongful death claim?

The law recognizes that wrongful death claims are often difficult for survivors. In some cases, such as deaths caused by malpractice, it may even be a while before an investigation confirms the suspicion that their relative's death was preventable. Florida allows survivors to bring a wrongful death claim up to four years after an act of negligence.

2. Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Florida is a little unique in that the law restricts wrongful death claims in a way that leaves many people unable to file claims over their loved ones. Essentially, you can file a claim over your spouse or your child, and a child under the age of 25 can file a claim for a parent, but no one else can file a claim. That means that many people, especially young, single adults and widowed seniors, fall into a "gap" that isn't protected.

3. What damages are available in a wrongful death claim?

There are a number of different ways to evaluate the value of a wrongful death claim. There are damages to the estate of the deceased, including the following:

  • The loss of the deceased's expected lifetime earnings
  • Medical expenses related to the death that were paid from the estate
  • Funeral expenses that were paid from the estate

There are also a number of damages to the survivors, including the following:

  • The loss of the deceased's love, support, guidance, and services
  • The loss of a deceased spouse's companionship and support
  • Pain and suffering due to the deceased's death

4. How can you start a wrongful death claim?

Take any evidence you have and all the information you can gather to a wrongful death attorney and discuss the situation. An attorney can help you determine the validity of your claim under the law and whether or not there is a survivor who is eligible to file a claim.