A person’s sudden passing is difficult for their survivors, all the more if it happened because of another party’s careless behavior or intentional wrongful action. Such situations are considered wrongful death under the law. Fortunately, the law allows surviving relatives to seek fair compensation from those liable.
If you want to initiate a claim for civil damages, a Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer can help assist you and your family. An attorney at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can offer sound advice on possible recourse and explain your rights to pursue a wrongful death claim. Get in touch at (800) 712-9119 to speak to someone from our team.
Wrongful Death Damages in Florida
A wrongful death suit aims to compensate the deceased’s surviving family members and dependents for the sudden loss of life. It holds another party financially responsible for the resulting monetary damages due to their negligence or intentional harm.
In Florida, the law identifies possible compensation that the surviving family members or dependents may receive. Awarded damages under Florida Statutes §768.21 may include:
- Loss of future income plus interest
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Mental pain and suffering
- Medical and funeral expenses, as well as other related costs
The estate may also recover separate damages, covering possible accumulation of lost net income and reasonable accrual of the estate’s monetary value. If the estate paid for the decedent’s medical and funeral bills, they might seek compensation for these as well.
Remember that the value of every legal claim varies depending on the surrounding circumstances. Determining the right amount of monetary payout is not easy to do for the average person. However, a lawyer has knowledge in such matters and can help make a reasonable estimate. To arrive at a fair value, they will consider several factors, such as past income history, benefits, future earnings, life expectancy, health, and replacement value of the deceased’s non-monetary contributions to the family.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Jacksonville, call 800-593-3443
Key Elements of an Actionable Claim
For the court to award damages under a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s dependents or survivors must establish the essential elements and support them with evidence.
You must show that the victim’s passing was indeed a wrongful death and not a personal injury case; otherwise, the claim is not valid. Furnishing a death certificate is proof that a person has died.
Cause of Death
A key element of a wrongful death claim is the cause of the decedent’s death. Like a personal injury case, a legal claim of this nature has to demonstrate that one’s loss of life was due to another party’s negligent actions.
Negligence is a commonly used legal theory in establishing a person’s liability in the situation—their failure to act reasonably or uphold their duty of care to others made them responsible for the resulting consequences. If a person died because the other party disobeyed traffic laws or the doctor was careless during treatment, they are held liable for the death and its related damages.
For a wrongful death claim to stand, a person’s death must have led to a form of suffering. The survivors or dependents have to demonstrate that the decedent’s demise resulted in economic and noneconomic losses. In most cases, the court determines suffering if the surviving family or dependent heavily relies on the deceased for financial support.
Right to Recover
A wrongful death claim only becomes actionable if it involves eligible beneficiaries. In Florida, surviving family members such as parents, spouses, and children have the legal right to receive compensation. Sometimes, it may include dependent blood relatives and adoptive siblings.
Under Florida Statutes §768.18, children from unmarried couples may receive support, but only if the estate owner is the mother. They will only get compensatory payouts had the father acknowledged their birth.
It may best to consider allowing an attorney from Ben Crump Law, PLLC to establish the above elements because of the complicated legal issues involved. Reach out to a team member today to begin discussions on initiating a claim.
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Understanding Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
Not anyone can file a wrongful death suit, and states have different statutes for doing so. Florida follows the loss-to-estate rule in identifying who can proceed with the claim. Only the personal representative from a decedent’s estate has the right to litigation or legal action under Florida Statutes §768.20.
Said person would be responsible for recovering all monetary damages due to the deceased’s survivors and dependents. The named person in the will or estate plan often becomes the representative. But when there is none, the court will choose an administrator to handle the monetary disbursement among designated beneficiaries.
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Pursuing a Claim within the State’s Time Limits
As with pursuing any civil claim, there are also applicable time limits to a wrongful death lawsuit. Statute of limitations is a set of state-imposed deadlines for every legal action. Once the time frame has lapsed, financial recovery is no longer possible except in a few rare, acceptable occasions.
In Florida, the estate’s appointed representative should file a wrongful death suit within two years of the date of death, according to Florida Statutes §95.11 of the state’s statutes. To determine how much time, you have left in bringing a claim against potentially liable parties, consider consulting with a Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer. Otherwise, you may lose your legal right to recovery.
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Why Seek Legal Assistance
Generally, wrongful death lawsuits involve complex legal matters. For instance, proving that another party’s misconduct or negligence has caused the decedent’s death is often fact-specific. It will be challenging for those who opted for self-representation, especially if they lack experience and knowledge. The same applies to the establishment of the potential beneficiaries’ right to recovery.
Turn to a Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer from Ben Crump Law, PLLC. We will fight for you to get compensation for your loved one’s untimely death.
To get started, call (800) 712-9119 to speak with a team member today.
Call or text 800-593-3443 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form