Wrongful Death FAQs
The Florida Wrongful Death Act can be found in Florida Statutes sections 768.16-768.26. This law is intended to shift the losses of a wrongful death from the surviving family members onto the wrongdoer who caused the death. Still, it is up to the plaintiff in a wrongful death action to prove all of the elements of the case by a preponderance of the evidence in order to make a recovery. This includes proving that the death was caused by another’s negligence or wrongful act, as well as establishing the proper amount of damages or compensation to be given. These are often difficult and challenging tasks, and the assistance of an experienced Vero Beach wrongful death attorney is critical. See below for answers to frequently asked questions about Florida wrongful death law, and contact the Law Offices of Keith Bregoff PA for help with a wrongful death action in Stuart or Vero Beach.
- Who can file a wrongful death claim?
- A wrongful death claim is filed on behalf of the estate of the deceased. The plaintiff is the estate’s personal representative, who is either named in the will as executor or appointed by the court to serve as the personal representative of the estate.
- Who receives the compensation from a wrongful death settlement or jury verdict?
- Any amount recovered for wrongful death goes to certain family members who survive the deceased. This includes a surviving spouse, children and parents, as well as blood or adoptive siblings and any blood relatives who were at least partially dependent on the deceased for support or services.
- Can a child recover for the death of a parent if the child was born out of wedlock?
- A child born out of wedlock can always recover for the death of a mother and can also recover for the death of a father if the father had recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.
- How long does the personal representative have to file a claim for wrongful death in Florida?
- Florida Statutes 95.11(3)(a) give a four-year time limit, or statute of limitations, for actions founded on negligence. However, section 95.11(4)(d) specifically limits the time frame to two years in an action for wrongful death. There is no time limit to bring a wrongful death case if the death was caused by an intentional tort such as murder or manslaughter. Applying the correct statute of limitations is a highly technical matter that can actually be quite complex. It is important to contact a knowledgeable and experienced Florida personal injury attorney sooner rather than later to ensure a claim is timely filed.