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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?   

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Losing a loved one is a devastating tragedy that can result in a number of questions about your family’s legal rights and options. In Florida, if a death is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, a wrongful death claim can be filed by a personal representative of the estate on behalf of surviving family members.

A skilled Tampa personal injury lawyer can guide you through the legal complexities, advocate for your rights, and pursue the compensation your family deserves.

What Is Florida’s Wrongful Death Law?

Wrongful death is a type of civil claim that seeks financial compensation for the preventable death of an individual. Florida Statutes § 768.19 grants a right of civil action “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.”

Most wrongful death claims are based on negligence, meaning the failure to act with ordinary and reasonable care. If an individual texts while driving and causes a deadly car accident, for example, this is an act of negligence that could lead to a wrongful death claim. A successful claim could result in damages, or financial compensation, given to beneficiaries.

How Can a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Help with Wrongful Death Cases?

In Tampa, if a loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence in a car accident, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. A Tampa car accident lawyer can navigate the complexities of these cases, gather evidence of negligence, and seek maximum compensation for your family’s loss.

Who Is the Personal Representative of the Estate?

Many states allow a deceased person’s (known as a decedent) surviving family members, relatives or loved ones to file a wrongful death claim. In Florida, however, the law exclusively gives this right to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This person is also sometimes called an executor or administrator of the estate.

The personal representative of the estate is an individual appointed to manage the decedent’s estate and its administration to heirs or beneficiaries after the decedent’s death. The representative must abide by the wishes of the decedent according to a will or Florida’s laws of intestate succession if no will exists.

A representative of the estate is named in a will or estate plan. In a wrongful death case, however, the unexpected nature of the death often means there is no will left behind. In this event, the probate court will appoint one. Typically, the representative is a close family member of the decedent, such as a spouse or adult child.

Who Can Recover Compensation From a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

Although surviving family members may not file a wrongful death claim in Florida, they can recover financial compensation if the case is successful. The personal representative will file a claim on behalf of the estate and any of the decedent’s surviving relatives. The suit must list all potential beneficiaries.

Common beneficiaries include:

  • A surviving spouse
  • A surviving child or children
  • Surviving parents
  • Surviving siblings

Under Florida Statutes § 768.21, eligible beneficiaries may receive compensation for losses such as the decedent’s lost support and services, companionship, protection, income and earnings, and the decedent’s mental pain and suffering. Compensation for medical, funeral, and burial expenses is also available.

Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim? Find Out During a Free Consultation

If you recently lost someone you loved in an accident and suspect that someone else’s negligence or wrongful act caused or contributed to the death, consult with a Tampa wrongful death attorney at Vanguard Attorneys about your situation for free.

Contact us today, we will listen to your story, review the facts of your case, and let you know if it has merit. If so, we may offer to represent your family and guide you through the legal process to seek maximum financial compensation for your losses.