The following article will cover:
- Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida.
- The role of the personal representative in a wrongful death case.
- Steps to begin the wrongful death lawsuit process, including the importance of evidence and considerations when hiring an attorney.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Florida?
In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by survivors under the estate or the estate itself, acting through the personal representative of the estate.
What Is The Role Of The Personal Representative In A Wrongful Death Case?
The personal representative typically holds the authority to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This individual is usually named in the deceased person’s will or, in the absence of a will, appointed by the court. They represent both the estate and the beneficiaries, filing the claim on behalf of surviving spouses, minor children, adult children, parents, and other blood relatives who were actual dependents of the deceased.
What Are The Exact Steps We Need To Take To Begin The Wrongful Death Lawsuit Process?
The first step in the wrongful death lawsuit process is contacting a Florida wrongful death attorney who can guide you. This may include initiating a probate case for the formal administration of the estate and the appointment of a personal representative. This representative will then file a separate civil suit against the at-fault party, typically in the circuit court, under the name of the personal representative of the estate. It’s essential to consult an attorney about your specific case details as the process can involve various specifics, such as obtaining waivers from beneficiaries or identifying alternative potential personal representatives.
What If The Wrongdoer Is Also Being Criminally Prosecuted? Do We Need To Wait?
You don’t need to wait for the criminal case to conclude before proceeding with a civil wrongful death claim. These cases can run simultaneously as they involve different standards and burdens of proof. The prosecutor in a criminal case needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused caused the death. Conversely, in a civil wrongful death case, the plaintiff needs to demonstrate negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it is more probable than not that the defendant’s negligence caused the death.
How Important Is Evidence In A Wrongful Death Case?
Evidence is crucial in a wrongful death claim. You need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased, breached that duty through negligence, recklessness, or wrongful conduct, and that this breach directly caused the death. Demonstrating a causal link between the defendant’s actions and the fatal injuries is pivotal. You must also provide evidence supporting the death, such as a death certificate or medical records, and show that surviving beneficiaries have incurred damages.
What Should We Be Looking For When Hiring The Right Attorney To Handle Our Wrongful Death Case?
Several factors should be considered when hiring an attorney for a wrongful death case:
- Competency and experience: The attorney should have experience in handling wrongful death cases and be familiar with the complexities involved.
- Compassion and empathy: As wrongful death cases involve emotional turmoil, an attorney who genuinely cares about your loss and is determined to seek justice can provide reassurance.
- Accessibility and responsiveness: The attorney should be available and maintain good communication with their clients.
- Resources: The attorney should have sufficient resources to handle the litigation process effectively as wrongful death cases can be costly.
- Reputation and credibility: Consider the attorney’s standing within the legal community. Reviews and testimonials can offer insight into their professionalism and effectiveness.
- Trial experience: This indicates the attorney’s ability to navigate the litigation process if a trial becomes necessary.
- Transparency: The attorney should clearly explain the process during the initial consultation, including fee structures and potential fee increases if a lawsuit needs to be filed.
For more information on Filing A Wrongful Death Claim In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (904) 351-0945 today.