If someone you love has been killed in an accident in Tampa, and that accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, then you may be eligible for compensation for funeral expenses and your own loss of companionship, among other considerations. To receive compensation, you may choose to file a Florida wrongful death claim.
Florida Statutes Specify Exactly Who May File a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
According to Florida law, only a “personal representative” may file a wrongful death claim. In some cases, a representative is appointed by the Probate Court. This personal representative may file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party on behalf of the deceased’s estate and survivors.
Personal Representative in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
The primary reason for the personal representative in a Florida wrongful death claim is to prevent multiple lawsuits from various survivors against the same defendant. It also prevents one survivor from suing first, and collecting all of the available insurance coverage.
The personal representative may be any mentally and physically competent adult Florida resident, who is capable of fulfilling the duties of a personal representative. In addition to individual survivors of the deceased, certain bank or loan institution representatives may be able to serve in this position. Convicted felons are prohibited from serving as a personal representative.
If those who are seeking to file a Florida wrongful death claim cannot agree upon a personal representative, the Florida Probate Court specifies the order of preference to appoint one. If you have any questions about the court’s order of preference when appointing a personal representative in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, you can contact an experienced Tampa wrongful death attorney.
According to Florida law, the personal representative must bring action for any claims of the deceased’s estate and for each individual survivor.
In a Florida wrongful death claim, individual survivors may include the deceased’s:
- minor children;
- adult children;
- parents; and
- blood relatives (in some circumstances, adoptive brothers and sisters).
According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act, survivorship will be determined at the time of the decedent’s death. The act also specifies exactly what types of damages each survivor may recover.
Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
Damages that a survivor may recover in a Florida wrongful death claim include:
- the deceased’s medical expenses, which resulted from the defendant’s negligent act;
- the deceased’s funeral and burial expenses;
- your own loss of support and services, such as household chores, child care, transportation, etc.;
- your own loss of companionship and protection;
- any mental pain or anguish that you suffered as a result of the deceased’s death; and
- your own loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance.
A Florida wrongful death claim can also provide an avenue to recover damages on behalf of a deceased’s estate.
A Personal Representative May Recover Damages on Behalf of the Deceased’s Estate for:
- the loss of net accumulations, estimated by how much money the deceased would have saved or accumulated in the future;
- the deceased’s lost earnings; and
- the deceased’s medical and funeral expenses.
According the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a recovery by the decedent’s estate is subject to claims, which have been filed against the estate by creditors.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, contact a Florida wrongful death lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you get the financial compensation that you deserve, allowing you to focus on recovery.