Losing a member of your family is a painful experience, and it can also be a financially devastating one. The death of one of the primary wage earners from a household can mean that everyone in the family must accept a lower standard of living. Losing a family member also means redistributing the workload around the house and coping with the emotional trauma of that sudden grief.
In situations where bad behavior or obvious negligence caused a fatal accident, Florida law allows for wrongful death lawsuits. If you believe that your family may be in a position to file such a lawsuit, then you need to learn about the three rules below that govern such claims.
Who can file the lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits serve to compensate the closest family members of someone who dies in most cases, but the resources first pass through their estate. It is the personal representative of the person who died that will bring the lawsuit, not necessarily their spouse or children who will receive the proceeds from the lawsuit.
How long you have to file
Every kind of personal injury claim in Florida is subject to a statute of limitations. If too much time passes, your family could lose the right to seek compensation. For a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, the statute of limitations expires two years after the date of death in most cases.
The kinds of damages you can seek
Florida law allows families to seek compensatory damages for their losses including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages and lost household services. Certain kinds of non-economic damages, including the pain and suffering of surviving family members, are also potentially an option.
Florida does also allow people to request punitive damages in special cases. Punitive damages are not related to the financial impact of the death but rather act as a way to punish the responsible party. There are complex rules that may limit how much you receive in punitive damages depending on the overall value of the claim and the circumstances that lead to the lawsuit.
Although it can be a challenge in the early stages, the process of pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit can be invaluable for those who have recently lost a family member. Learning more about wrongful death laws in Florida can help those struggling to come to terms with a recent family tragedy.