Pursuing Justice for Your Family
Should the tragic loss of a loved one occur, your family will be faced with many responsibilities and emotional considerations far removed from any concerns of a possible claim for legal damages. You should understand, however, that depending upon the circumstances of your loss and the relationship with the deceased person, Florida law may justify compensation and assistance for specific parties, such as the surviving spouse and children of the deceased. Florida law also imposes specific time limitations within which a wrongful death claim can be made. Should you wish to discuss any potential claim or legal rights while coping with the many other responsibilities caused by your loss, Robert Heyman at Heyman Law Firm is available for a consultation at your family's convenience. Our St. Petersburg wrongful death attorney has a thorough understanding of Florida's laws and is committed to helping families by relieving them of their legal and financial burdens.
Our attorney can handle your wrongful death case while your family concentrates on grieving and healing. Call us at (727) 822-3700 for a free consultation to discuss your case, or fill out our online form.
What is Considered Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims can be filed after someone is killed because of another person or entity's negligence or misconduct. While some deaths may involve criminal prosecutions, wrongful death claims are civil actions, meaning that they are separate from criminal charges. These claims give the surviving family members of the deceased person an opportunity to recover damages that occurred as a result of the accident and death.
Wrongful death claims may be filed when the deceased person is killed in an accident or later dies as a result of their injuries. When the deceased doesn't die immediately from an accident, but passes away after filing a personal injury claim, the surviving family members can file a “survival action” that allows them to recover additional compensation for their loved one's pain and suffering before dying.
Common Accidents that Result in Wrongful Death
Any accident can result in death depending on the seriousness of the accident and injuries, though car accidents are one of the leading causes of wrongful death claims. In 2019, an estimated 38,000 people lost their lives to car crashes in the United States. While some car accidents can result in minor injuries like sprains and scrapes, others can result in fatalities based on factors like vehicle weight and size, as well as speed.
The faster the vehicle is going at the time of the accident, the more serious injuries tend to be due to the amount of force involved. Truck accidents also can cause deaths to other vehicle drivers and passengers due to their sheer size and weight, as passenger vehicles typically weigh around 3,000 pounds while trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds.
Other accidents that commonly result in wrongful death claims include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Workplace accidents
- Lyft & Uber Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
Who is Eligible to File a Claim?
Each state has its own laws dictating who can legally file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate must file the claim. The personal representative may be the person named in the deceased's will or estate plan; if there is no will or plan, the representative is appointed by the court.
The personal representative files the claim on behalf of not just the person's estate, but on behalf of any surviving family members as well, and can list every survivor who has an interest in the claim.
Family members who are able to recover damages in a wrongful death claim in Florida include:
- Any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was financially dependent on the deceased person
Florida's laws also establish a statute of limitations of two years, which means the personal representative has two years from the date of death to file a claim and recover damages. It's critical to get started on your claim as soon as possible so you can follow the deadline, otherwise you will lose your right to bring your lawsuit to court. Our attorney has demonstrated experience handling wrongful death claims and can work efficiently when you call us for support.