Losing a loved one in an accident can profoundly impact every aspect of your life. Depending on the victim's role in your family, the loss of life may result in economic challenges, such as a loss of income, insurance benefits, and retirement plans. And this is on top of the end-of-life expenses, funeral and interment costs, and other costs associated with an untimely death.
Of course, economic damages are in addition to the devastating emotional losses associated with wrongful death. These may include the loss of companionship and someone you had come to rely on for support.
Florida is different from most states in its handling of personal injury and wrongful death laws. For example, whereas in adjacent states, such as Georgia, a spouse, child, or even parents can file a wrongful death suit, in Florida, only the personal representative of the victim's estate is entitled to file a claim.
A personal representative of someone's estate can be appointed in a will or estate plan. If no will or estate plan exists, the court will appoint this representative. The representative will file a claim on behalf of all beneficiaries, but immediate family members themselves, unless appointed as the representative, cannot take legal action.
Beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim in Florida may include:
- A Spouse
- Biological and Adopted Children*
- Dependent Family Members
*In Florida, when a child is born to unwed parents, the child must be acknowledged by the father to be considered a beneficiary. However, children of unwed parents are automatically considered beneficiaries if their mother is the victim of wrongful death.
You Need a Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, it is best to discuss your options with a lawyer as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Florida is two years from the date of death. Talking to an attorney long before this deadline can help preserve your rights and allow for more options.
The wrongful death lawyers at Kelleher Law have decades of combined experience helping families seek justice. If you have lost a loved one, even if you are not the estate representative, call us at 833-546-3675 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights.