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How To Recover For A Loved One’s Death In Florida

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Losing a loved one is the worst possible thing many people can think of. However, if it occurs due to someone else’s negligence, it  can arguably be worse, not least of all because then you may have to deal with bills and financial issues when you deserve to take time to mourn. There is a process to recovering for a loved one’s death if someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct caused their passing, but failure to abide by the procedure can mean more time and trouble than originally planned.

Two Types of Action

There are two types of wrongful death action available under Florida law – a standard wrongful death action, and a survival action. A standard action is brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, on behalf of certain specific surviving family – in most cases, the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, and any blood relative (or adopted sibling) “who was … dependent on the deceased for supports and services.” Only these people may recover for the causes of action brought in a standard wrongful death suit, because they are the ones living with the person closely enough to benefit from their presence and their labor.

A survival action, by comparison, is brought in the name of the deceased person, for the exact same cause of action (though usually brought by the personal representative, again). So, if the person was killed in an auto accident, a survival action would likely be brought by the personal representative to seek recovery for the defendant’s alleged negligence in causing a fatal auto accident. In a survival action, all that may be recovered is what the person would have recovered had they survived, while in a standard action, the family may possibly recover for things like funeral expenses and lost wages.

Statute of Limitations Matters

Be advised that in wrongful death cases, there is a hard and fast statute of limitations – under Florida law, within two years in all but the most unusual cases. In rare instances, the statute may be tolled (that is, the two year period can be temporarily stopped from elapsing) but this is highly unusual. Most of the time, the period for filing suit begins right after the accident, and ends two years later. After that all rights to file suit are extinguished.

This may seem unfair, somehow, that such a relatively short time may pass between the death and any required filing, but if too long is permitted to pass, memories grow faint, and too many cases become ‘he said she said’ battles. Florida courts need to keep their dockets moving, and two years was decided as the optimal compromise length of time in order to seek justice without creating a backlog of cases.

Call A Knowledgeable Attorney Today

If you have lost a loved one to someone else’s negligent conduct, the last thing you want to do is be concerned with legal matters. The dedicated Tampa wrongful death attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group are hard workers unafraid to fight for your rights. We would be glad to try and help you with your case. Call us today at 813-831-9999 to set up a consultation.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.18.html

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