WRONGFUL DEATH IN FLORIDA

Florida Wrongful Death Attorney, Frank D. Butler

Wrongful death. In Florida there is a specific statute, F.S. 768.16, which governs civil lawsuits that arise from actions of at-fault persons or entities.  Be very careful. One of the most important factors is that the statute may actually shorten the time frame under which the family or estate may have to file suit. In other words, if an automobile crash caused injury to a person there is a certain time limit to file suit on that claim—depending upon the circumstances; however, if that same crash caused the death of a person, the time frame to file suit against the at-fault party may actually be less than for a crash which just caused injury.

How your case proceeds also depends upon the circumstances of the event which caused the death. Does it involve a governmental agency? Does the event involve a boating crash? Where did the event occur? Is an out-of-state person or company involved?

The statute also has certain limits as to who can bring the lawsuit. In practicality we have found that when the family is on the same page, pursuing the case goes much better.  Wrongful death suits are usually begun by a “personal representative” of the estate of the deceased person. It is imperative to the success of the case that the family be in agreement with who will be the personal representative. This is important for a couple of fundamental reasons. First, wrongful death cases can degenerate in court into an argument over who should be the personal representative. This does not go without notice to the defense counsel and any insurance company involved. Second, there needs to be one decision-maker about decisions that need to be made in the case. Of course it is acceptable for the family to give input to the personal representative on decisions; however, it is the personal representative through whom the attorney will communicate and seek commitments for important decisions in the case.

We have successfully prosecuted wrongful death cases for families. This is done with the respect for the family, and with the understanding of the loss suffered by the family. You can have confidence in our 25 years of experience in handling cases for families—never for an insurer.

 

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