In a wrongful death, a life has been lost too soon and surviving family members are left to grieve, learn to live with loss and to figure out what their life looks like now with this gaping void. The wrongful death of a spouse or parent can have a lifelong impact on family members. If a loved one has fallen victim to a wrongful death, it’s important to know your rights and how you can receive the compensation you deserve to make your life as whole as possible again.

Wrongful death cases are different than other cases involving injuries or damages. Obviously, emotions run higher. Surviving family members are often overwhelmed, unsure which end is up and what to do first, facing mounting bills and pressure from the outside world. Additionally, Florida has a complex and specific statutory framework governing wrongful death claims.

For those reasons, when choosing an attorney to handle a wrongful death claim for your family, it is important that your find someone with considerable experience in handling these specific types of cases and the compassion necessary to be your confidant and counselor as you go through this difficult process. In this post, we will attempt to cover some of the basic elements of wrongful death claims which separate them for ordinary negligence claims.

What is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death is “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any other person.” To win a wrongful death case, you will need to prove that your loved one’s death occurred because of someone else’s negligence or other wrongful act. Some examples of wrongful deaths could be a car accident, product defect or malfunction, or medical malpractice. A wrongful death case is brought in the civil courts and must be filed within two years of the victim’s date of death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?

In Florida, only certain people, known as survivors, may recover damages in a wrongful death claim. These survivors are typically the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. A child born out of wedlock of a mother is included in the list of potential survivors, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father, unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.

Following a wrongful death, an estate must be opened, and a personal representative of the estate appointed. The wrongful death victim’s personal representative is the individual who needs to file the case. A personal representative is someone that the victim had named in their will to fulfill this role. If there is no will or if the will does not name a personal representative, then the court will appoint someone to this role. The personal representative then files the case on behalf of the victim’s estate as well as the survivors.

What Can Survivors Recover in a Wrongful Death Case?

Depending on the specifics of the situation, survivors may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Lost wages and financial support that the victim provided to the family members
  • Loss of companionship and protection
  • Mental pain and suffering
  • Loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
  • Medical and funeral expenses

In proving these damages, we spend considerable time with the surviving family members, learning about the deceased, the impact they had on their family lives and the hole that their passing has left. We work with recognized experts including mental health counselors and grief counselors, accountants, economists and others.

If your loved one experienced a wrongful death, contact the attorneys at Cutler Rader for a free evaluation of your wrongful death case. We will aggressively fight for your family to receive justice.

Cutler Rader, P.L.

With over 75 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Cutler Rader understand the meaning of Justice. Our one and only mission is to get each client the justice he or she deserves; our team of attorneys never back down when we know our client is right.
We offer our clients the compassion and guidance they need as they work through trying times in their lives. The balance of working relentlessly for our clients combined with our caring approach has helped us achieve a fantastic record of success with our clients. We get our clients the justice they deserve.

At Cutler Rader, You matter. Your justice matters. Your Justice Starts Here. 954-913-2273.

References Used:
The Florida Legislature. Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine (state.fl.us). Accessed August 3, 2021.
The Florida Legislature. Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine (state.fl.us). Accessed August 3, 2021.