Filing a Lawsuit on Behalf of Someone Who Died in an Accident
When someone suffers injuries and financial losses following an accident, they can file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation for damages. But what happens when an accident results in death? Accidents that result in loss of life cause damages not only for the deceased, but also for surviving loved ones.
Civil law allows descendants to file a lawsuit on behalf of someone who died in an accident. This type of legal claim is called a wrongful death. Wrongful death lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau assist loved ones in Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas in holding liable parties accountable after a fatal accident, so that they can be justly compensated for their losses.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of someone who has been killed in a car crash or some other type of accident. Each state has their own specific standards regarding who is allowed to file a lawsuit. Generally, the claim must be filed by an immediate surviving family member of the deceased, or by someone who was financially dependent on the deceased. In Florida, the law states that a wrongful death claim can be filed by:
- The personal representative of the descendant’s estate
- The surviving spouse
- Minor children
- Adult children (if there is no surviving spouse)
- Parents of a minor child who is killed
- Parents of an adult child who is killed (if there are no other surviving dependents)
- Any blood relative or adopted siblings who are at least partially dependent on the deceased for financial support or services
When to Consider Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Regardless of what type of accident was the cause of death, surviving loved ones should consider filing a wrongful death claim if the death was caused by the malice, misconduct, or negligence of another person or party. To substantiate a wrongful death claim, surviving loved ones must also be able to demonstrate that they have (or will) suffer economic and/or non-economic damages as a result of the death.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
In addition to specifying who can file a wrongful death claim, each state also has their own statute of limitations, which designates the amount of time that someone has to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Florida is two years. The two year deadline begins on the date of the deceased’s death, which may be different from the date of the accident that caused the death.
While two years may seem like a long time, it can pass quickly, especially when loved ones are in mourning and busy handling issues brought on by the passing. Anyone considering a wrongful death claim should contact a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible to avoid forfeiting their right to pursue legal action.
Damages and Losses
The types of damages that are due in a wrongful death claim depend on who is filing the claim and what kinds of losses they have suffered. Depending on each of our Daytona Beach client’s unique circumstances, they may be due compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income and/or benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
Contact Our Practice
If you are considering filing a lawsuit on behalf of someone who has died in an accident, the wrongful death lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can evaluate your case to determine if you have a valid claim. To schedule a personal consultation with our legal team, send us a message online, or call (386) 258-7313.