Losing a loved one in a traumatic accident can be devastating. You may feel like you are pulled in several directions at once as you try to manage your grief, the end-of-life expenses of your loved one, and the details of the accident that caused their death.
A wrongful death claim can become even more complex when loved ones are upset about the claim and the settlement. While there are legal limitations to a wrongful death claim, some loved ones may disagree with the distribution of the award.
Here’s what you should know about the distribution of money from a wrongful death claim.
The process in Florida
While some states have a small list of eligible relatives who may file a wrongful death claim after the death of a loved one, in Florida, the personal representative of the estate must file the claim.
When only one person can file a wrongful death claim, it prevents other eligible family members from filing duplicate claims.
Distribution of damages
The personal representative is the only person who may file the claim, but they are not the only person who may receive damages. Family members who may be eligible for some of the awarded damages include:
- Surviving spouse
- Minor children
- Surviving parents of minor children
- Adult children (if no surviving spouse)
The personal representative must include the potential beneficiaries when they make a wrongful death claim.
Dealing with disagreement
When surviving family members disagree with the distribution of damages from a wrongful death claim, they must bring it up during the probate process. At the conclusion of the wrongful death claim, the damages become part of the deceased’s estate.