If you suffer injury in a Florida vehicle crash due to someone else's negligence you have a right to seek to hold that person or persons accountable for your pain, suffering, damages and financial losses. If the injuries cause your death, the possibility of seeking compensation remains for survivors. State law, however, controls who can pursue such a claim. To determine if standing exists and to effectively prosecute a claim of wrongful death, consulting an experienced attorney is essential.
Florida's Wrongful Death Act makes clear that each survivor of a victim of wrongful death has a right to "recover the value of lost support and services of the decedent." That can include losses in the immediate aftermath of the death and into the future. However, the relevant portion of that law also makes clear that to pursue the claim, the action must be initiated by the decedent's personal representative.
Acting on behalf of the estate
The personal representative as required by the law is that person named as such in the decedent's will. If no will exists, the probate court names a personal representative. Once in place, the representative can file a claim on behalf of survivors, including the decedent's:
- Dependent adoptive siblings or blood relatives
In addition to losses attributed to pain and suffering, qualifying survivors are entitled under law to seek recovery from the negligent party for any accident-related medical bills for the victim and funeral expenses. Depending on the circumstances of a given case, it may also be possible to seek additional damages.
Another important aspect of pursuing a wrongful death claim in Florida is the statute of limitations. In most cases, the limit is two years from the date of the death. But it can vary, which is yet one more reason why working with skilled legal counsel is so important.