Wrongful Death FAQs

What does it mean to have a wrongful death case?

A wrongful death in Florida generally means that someone was killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness.

What types of cases fall within the category of “wrongful death”?

Here are some examples of wrongful death cases we’ve handled:Car accidents

  • Decedent was killed when he was rear ended by a truck while on a scooter

  • Decedent was killed when a tractor trailer rear ended her car while she was sitting in the passenger seat

  • Decedent, a passenger in a car, was killed when the driver lost control and flipped the vehicle

  • Decedent, a minor, was killed when she was sitting in the back seat without a seat belt on and the driver lost control and crashed into a wall

  • Decedent was struck and killed after attempting to cross the street and was run over by 3 vehicles

  • Decedent was struck and killed while crossing at a cross walk and was run over by 5 vehicles

Crime Victims Rights

  • Decedent was killed when he was shot by an unknown assailant as he was waiting in his car at a gas station

  • Decedent, 24 years old, was killed when he was shot by an acquaintance at someone’s house

  • Decedent, 19 years old, was killed after being served underage at a bar and subsequently being ejected from a vehicle he was in after it crashed

  • Decedent, 19 years old, was killed by a train after being served underage at a bar and stumbling to the train tracks where he passed out
Who is entitled to make a claim for the wrongful or accident death of another person?

Florida law specifies who is entitled to make a claim and what types of damages each survivor can make a claim for. Depending on the age of the victim and marital status, the surviving parent may have a claim for their emotional damages. In some cases, the surviving children of a parent who is killed may have a claim for the loss of services that the parent would have provided, in addition to pain and suffering. The estate itself may also have a claim for the net accumulations the decedent would have saved over the course of the person’s life. Every case is different and it is important to speak with an attorney to find out what claims, if any, you are entitled to make.

If the person did not have a will, who can bring the claim for the wrongful death of my family member?

Florida’s Probate Rules and statutes specify the order of preference of who should be appointed as the Personal Representative of the Estate. There are some exceptions, like if the person with preference is a convicted felon, so it is important to speak with an attorney to make sure the proper party brings the claim. The representative generally brings the claim on behalf of all survivors.

How long do I typically have to make a claim for wrongful death in Florida?

Florida law limits the time you can file a claim for the wrongful or accidental death of another to two years. However, the time could be shorter. For example, if the death was caused by a government employee, they may have to be put on notice within 1 ½ years from the incident date in order to preserve the right to file a lawsuit. Every case is fact specific and it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to see if you can bring a claim.

If I live outside of Florida but my loved one’s death occurred in Florida, where should I get a lawyer?

A lawyer admitted to practice in Florida should be the person handling your wrongful death case. Florida law prohibits out of state lawyers from practicing law in Florida unless certain specific requirements are met. Generally, they must associate with a Florida lawyer. Our office represents many families who live outside of Florida. We can easily communicate with you via email, telephone, fax or snail mail. In general, you may not even have to come back to Florida for your case depending on the type of case.

How do you get paid? Do I have to pay you anything up front or out of pocket?

We work on a contingency fee and it does not cost you anything out of pocket for our work on your case. We only get paid if we get something for you for what happened. If for some reason there was no recovery, we waive all fees and costs.