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Pensacola Wrongful Death Attorney

We Fight for Justice for the Loss of Your Loved One

When a loved one’s death is caused by the negligence of another person or company, a wrongful death claim may arise. Prior to filing a lawsuit, there must be an established estate for the decedent with a personal representative. When no representative is named in a will, the court will appoint someone, with a preference for the spouse, parent, or child of the decedent.

If you believe you have a wrongful death case, contact The Watson Firm for a free case evaluation.

Wrongful Death Actions in Florida

When an individual is killed by the wrongful conduct of another, the decedent’s heirs and beneficiaries may file a wrongful death action against the responsible person. This is a civil action, making it separate from any pending criminal charges. The Florida Wrongful Death Act was designed to provide a form of justice to the surviving families of the victim in the form of monetary compensation.

The Florida Wrongful Death Act

According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act, when an individual is killed as a result of negligence—whether through careless, reckless, or intentional actions or inactions—their surviving family members may bring forth a civil lawsuit against the responsible person, company, or other entity. Under this law, the estate may claim damages for the loss of the individual, including but not limited to funeral/burial expenses, loss of support, and consortium.

How Does the Wrongful Death Claims Process Work?

The state of Florida has specific rules governing wrongful death claims. The claim must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This person, often a family member or close loved one, is typically named in the deceased’s will. If no such representative is named, the court will appoint one.

The claim is filed by the personal representative, but on behalf of the deceased’s surviving family members. The claim must name every surviving family member—including the deceased’s spouse, parents, or children, as well as other relatives or adoptive siblings—who were dependent upon the deceased for “support or services.”

After a wrongful death has occurred, the personal representative of the estate has two years to file a wrongful death claim. This deadline may be extended under certain, specific circumstances, however, this is rare. When filing any personal injury or wrongful death case in the state of Florida, it’s important to adhere to the applicable statute of limitations in order to secure the possibility of an optimal outcome.

Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Each survivor can recover the total value of the loss of support and services with interest for future losses. The court considers the relationship to the decedent, amount of probable net income, the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor, joint life expectancies of the survivor and decedent, and the period of minority for any minor children.

Other damages that may be available include:

  • Loss of companionship, protection, and pain and suffering for the spouse
  • Loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance, and pain and suffering for minor children
  • Mental pain and suffering for surviving parents of minor children
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses

There is a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death action. The action must be brought within two years of the date of death. It the surviving family is unable to file within this given deadline, the court may deem the case invalid.

Contact our The Watson Firm at (850) 290-0068 for a free consultation with our Pensacola wrongful death lawyer. You pay nothing unless we win your case.

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