A Closer Look at Wrongful Death Lawsuits in St Petersburg, Florida

What do you really know about wrongful death lawsuits in St Petersburg, Florida? Today, we will provide you with a closer look at everything you need to know, including eligibility requirements, potential damages, and more.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Under Florida law, it is considered a wrongful death when a person or entity causes another person’s death by a “wrongful act, default, negligence or breach of contract or warranty.” If someone dies as the result of the legal fault of another, it can be considered a wrongful death.

This can be based on a negligence-based incident like a car accident, medical malpractice, a defective product, or an intentional act, including a crime.

Eligibility Requirements for Wrongful Death Claims in Florida

Eligibility really depends on where you live and the laws in that particular state. The decedent's relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit in some states. However, Florida law requires that the personal representative or the executor of the person’s estate is the one to file the wrongful death claim.

A personal representative filing a wrongful death claim does so on behalf of the decedent’s estate and surviving family members. When filing the claim, the personal representative must list all potential beneficiaries.

Wrongful Death vs Criminal Homicide

Wrongful death claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit. In a wrongful death claim, someone steps in and files the lawsuit for the deceased. As you will see with other types of personal injury claims, the defendant's liability is usually expressed in compensation or court-ordered damages. This means the defendant must pay the surviving family members the compensation.

During a criminal homicide case, on the other hand, a conviction for this can result in prison time, state fines, probation, and many other penalties for the defendant. In a criminal case, the guilt of the accused must also be established beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the burden of proof falls to the prosecution to show that the defendant is responsible for the death.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death

Like other personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a certain timeframe. The statute of limitations for most Florida wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the person’s death. If the claim is not filed before the two-year mark, then the personal representative loses their right to do so.

However, if the wrongful death resulted from a crime like murder or manslaughter and the accused party has not been arrested or charged with a crime, then a wrongful death claim can be brought at any time.

Possible Wrongful Death Damages

Potential damages in Florida for wrongful death claims fall into two categories: damages awarded to the family of the deceased and the damages awarded to the estate. Damages paid to the surviving family may include:

• A loss of support and services the decedent offered to family members before death
• The loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection
• Mental pain and suffering
• Loss of parental companionship and guidance
• Medical and funeral expenses

Damages often paid to the estate include:

• Lost wages and benefits
• Value of earnings and benefits from the date of injury to the date of death
• Medical and funeral expenses paid directly to the estate

If you feel you have a wrongful death claim, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Since these cases can prove complicated, your attorney can help guide you through the process and help ensure you receive fair compensation. They will look at your specific situation and tell you the exact steps to take..