A wrongful death lawsuit alleges that an individual was killed as a result of the negligence (or other liability) on the part of another person, and that the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the other person’s conduct.
As a general rule, immediate family members (i.e. spouses, children and parents) can pursue a wrongful death claim (although minors until 18 years of age may require a “guardian ad litem” to represent their interests in court). In addition, some states may also extend the potential group of plaintiffs to grandparents, legal dependents, or members of the extended family. It is critical that you speak with an experienced lawyer to see if you or your loved on qualifies to bring a claim.
Each state has its own “statute of limitation,” which defines the time frame during which a lawsuit must be filed. In Florida, the limitation is 2 years. The time usually runs from the time of the victim’s death, although some states may allow a lawsuit to proceed if the acts which caused the death was not discovered until later (for example, the spouse of the victim does not discover until the following year that the victim’s death was caused by the negligence of the treating doctor. In this case, the time frame to file a lawsuit may run from the date the spouse discovered the treating doctor’s negligence, rather than the date of the victim’s death).
A claim, even a valid claim, may be denied if it is filed after the statute of limitations has run. If you believe that you may have a valid claim for wrongful death, it is important that you speak with a qualified wrongful death attorney at your earliest opportunity to preserve your rights. In addition to protecting your claim in court, early action may also help to preserve evidence, or locate witnesses, that you may need to win your case.
If you have any questions or concerns about a potential wrongful death, contact our offices at (305) 895-7547 or toll free at (866) 895-7217 to discuss your case for free. We handle cases throughout the state of Florida. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is never a fee unless we successfully resolve your case.