Wrongful death is a type of claim involving the liability of one party or parties for the death of another. In order to win a wrongful death claim, you must prove that the party you are suing was negligent in some manner and that this negligence directly led to the death of the subject person.
One example where a wrongful death claim may be applicable is in an automobile accident. If someone causes an automobile accident and someone involved in that accident dies, the person who was negligent and caused the accident may be sued for wrongful death.
The question then may become, who is able to or qualified to file the wrongful death claim? Lawson wrongful death lawsuits vary by state, but in Florida, the law states there are certain parties who can file a wrongful death claim and have an interest in the claim.
In Florida, the wrongful death claim is brought forward either by a wrongful death attorney or another personal representative. This person should be someone previously chosen by the deceased and named in the will or estate. In the alternative, it may be someone that is selected by the court. Either way, this is the party that directly brings the claim to the court.
There are then other parties who are named in the wrongful death claim that is considered to have an interest or who would be a beneficiary to the claim. In Florida, the law limits these parties to being only certain close family members and relatives.
The first type of person who would have an interest in a wrongful death claim would be the deceased’s spouse. This is one of the most common parties in this type of claim. Because of the level of dependence spouses may have on one another, these parties qualify to be part of a wrongful death claim. They are also generally one of the primary beneficiaries, per Florida law.
Children and parents also have the ability to be a part of a wrongful death lawsuit. For children, this includes children born outside of marriage (wedlock) in most cases. With these types of parties, there are some particulars in Florida law to take into consideration.
For instance, with children, there are certain limitations as to what they can recover depending on their ages and circumstances. Children who are younger when the parent passes away are usually entitled to greater compensation than older, adult children. There are also limitations for parents depending on the age of the deceased and whether or not they had other beneficiaries.
Aside from the common parties already mentioned, there are also other close relations that are eligible to be a party to a wrongful death claim. Some of these include any biological or blood relation that was dependent on the deceased or if the deceased had any siblings or adopted siblings that were considered dependents. The key here is that these parties were dependent on the deceased in some way or another, meaning they relied on them for things such as basic care, shelter, food, and other monetary support.
Filing a wrongful death claim is something nobody should ever have to do. The reality is, that if your loved one has been killed due to the negligent actions of others, it is crucial you know what your course of action might be. Knowing if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim or be a named beneficiary in a wrongful death claim is the first step. Understanding the process and the applicable Florida laws will go a long way in making the difficult time of losing a loved one, just a tiny bit easier.
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