Losing a loved one is a terrible experience for anyone. But when someone you can't live without loses their life in a preventable accident due to someone else's negligence, many of the negative emotions associated with the loss are heightened significantly.
But Florida law does allow you to get compensation from the person or entity who caused the accident. The Florida Wrongful Death Act is the primary law governing suing someone for negligence that ends in someone else's death.
Who Can Sue?
In Florida, a personal representative of the state will bring an action for the benefit of all the survivors and the estate itself. This includes the spouse, children and other family members. As for what they might sue for, Florida law is very complex, but categories of damages include lost support, services, guidance, companionship, mental pain and suffering, lost earnings, medical and funeral expenses and more. And what categories are part of the claim depend on the claimant's relationship to the decedent, the age of the claimant in question and other factors.
Are There Any Limitations?
In order to sue someone for wrongful death, they have to actually be negligent. Negligence doesn't just imply that an oversight or recklessness was present. The individual must have done something a reasonably careful person would not do or failed to do something a reasonably careful person would do.
In Florida, a wrongful death suit must be filed within two years of the date of death. For this reason, you should reach out to a qualified wrongful death attorney soon after you become aware that someone else's negligence may have caused your loved one's death. This can be difficult, but we won't pressure you into moving more quickly than you're emotionally ready for. That said, our lawyers can stay on top of the case, and as much as possible, work quietly in the background to give you at least some peace of mind about your financial future.
How Much Can I Get?
This is the million dollar question (often literally). There's no real way to know. It depends on the merits of your case. In general, though, you would be awarded what the court (or a jury) feels is fair, whether it be economic damages or non-economic damages. There are limits on noneconomic damages that vary depending on the circumstances, however.
The multitude of individual factors that play into the damages actually awarded is too varied to make accurate estimates. We can only advise you on what type of compensation we think you should seek.
Was Someone You Love Killed By Someone Else's Negligence?
You need time to grieve, but because of the statute of limitations, you also need a lawyer on your side sooner rather than later. We'll need to know the details of the accident, so call us as soon as you're ready to talk.
We'll go over the facts of the case with you and help you determine whether and how someone else might be responsible. Then we'll help you decide what your options are and how to proceed. There's no pressure because the meeting is a free, no-obligation consultation. When you're ready, contact the Orlando wrongful death lawyers at Draper Law Office at 866.767.4711.