Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer
111 N. Orange Avenue, Suite 800
Orlando, FL 32801
The death of a family member is never an easy time. Mourning a loss is even more difficult with the realization that such a death was preventable. In these cases many families will decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or persons that they feel were to blame for their loved one’s death.
Under Florida law, a wrongful death is declared to be any death that is caused by "… the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract…" of another. Note that “wrongful act” means any act that is contrary to the laws of the State of Florida and that any criminal act resulting in a death can be the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Is Able to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In Florida, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. By estate, this does not mean that the deceased person had to leave behind property or other assets of a certain value but rather any property or assets that would require a will but rather any property or assets that would require a will in order to be distributed according to the deceased’s wishes. If the deceased left no will, a court may appoint a member of the deceased’s family to act as the person who will distribute any property of the person who died.
In the event a personal representative files the wrongful death lawsuit, he or she must list all the deceased’s surviving relatives who would have been legally able to inherit from the deceased.
In order of priority of inheritance, these relatives are:
- the spouse, children (natural and adoptive), and parents
- any blood relative or adoptive sibling who can show that he or she was "… partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services."
In the special case of a child who was born to unwed parents, the child can be awarded damages upon the death of the child’s mother. However, if the child’s father dies, the child can be awarded damages only if the father had acknowledged the child to be his and was obligated to furnish support to that child.
Damages that May be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Damages that may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit include, but are not limited to:
- funeral and burial expenses paid by the estate of the deceased or by a family member
- medical bills and related expenses incurred prior to death
- the value of the support the deceased had provided, and would have provided to family members
- lost wages and/or other income the deceased would have earned
- loss of the companionship, care, and guidance the deceased would have provided to family members
There are other damages and expenses that may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. Your lawyer will discuss these other damages with you when he or she is preparing your wrongful death lawsuit.
Time Limits for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In the State of Florida a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within four years of the date of death. If not filed by the end of this period, you will not be able to file a lawsuit except in a very few special circumstances.
Why You Need an Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer
For a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful, it must follow a strict set of rules that cannot be waived or changed except in very special circumstances. It is far less of a problem to begin the process of filing your lawsuit well in advance of these deadlines rather than waiting until later.
If you have lost a family member to a wrongful death at the hand of another, you owe it to your family to protect them from financial hardship by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The Orlando wrongful death lawyer at the Doan Law Firm will be able to advise you regarding the best way to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for your family member’s death.
At the Doan Law Firm, your first consultation with our Orlando wrongful death lawyer is always free and does not obligate you to hiring our firm. If you decide that we should represent you in your wrongful death lawsuit, we will assume responsibility for all expenses necessary for us to win your lawsuit in exchange for a percentage of your final settlement.
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