Wrongful Death FAQ’s

Can I bring a case/pursue a case/sue/file a lawsuit/make a claim on behalf of my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent (mother/mom or father/dad) if he or she tragically died/passed away/was killed due to the negligence of somebody else/another person or business/company/corporate entity? What is a Wrongful Death case?

Yes, if your loved one lost his or her life due to the negligence of another person or entity, you can bring/pursue a wrongful death case on his or her behalf.

If my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent (mother/mom or father/dad) tragically passed away/died/was killed due to the negligence of somebody else/another person or business/company/corporate entity, will an Estate need to be established/opened up on behalf of my loved one?

Yes, if your loved one lost his or her life due to the negligence of another person or entity, an Estate will have to be opened up on behalf of your loved one. A Probate Attorney can help to do this.

If my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent (mother/mom or father/dad) has tragically passed away/died/was killed due to the negligence of somebody else/another person or business/company/corporate entity, who will represent the Estate? Who will act as/serve as/fill the role of/be the Plaintiff and carry on the case/pursue the case/bring the case/make the claim/sue on behalf of my deceased loved one/family member/relative/the decedent?

If your loved one has tragically lost his or her life as a result of the negligence of somebody else, an Estate will have to be established on his or her behalf (as mentioned above). A relative, family member or loved one will usually be appointed as the “Personal Representative of the Estate” (the “P.R.”) to act as the technical Plaintiff and carry on/bring the case. The Personal Representative will be the named Plaintiff in the lawsuit.

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death case in the State of Florida? If my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent (mother/mom or father/dad) one passes away/dies/is killed due to or because of the fault or negligence of somebody else, how long do I have to bring a case/pursue a case/make a claim/sue/file a lawsuit?

In the State of Florida, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years.

In a wrongful death case, who is the decedent?

In a wrongful death case, the decedent is the person who tragically passed away in the accident.

Who will receive/get the proceeds/money from my family member, loved one or relative’s wrongful death case? Who are my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent’s (mother/mom or father/dad) survivors?

Your loved one’s survivors are the people who will receive the proceeds from your loved one’s wrongful death case. In the State of Florida they include:

  • the deceased person/the decedent’s spouse (husband or wife)
  • children
  • parents
  • any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters if they were partly or wholly dependent on the deceased person for support or services.
  • A child born out of wedlock of a mother is a survivor of the mother, but not a child born out of wedlock of a father. The only exception to this is if the father has an obligation to pay for the child’s support and this obligation has been officially recognized.

These rules come from Florida’s Wrongful Death Act - Florida Statute 768.18, which can be found here:

What if the defendant/person who caused my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent’s (mother/mom or father/dad) death also died/passed away/was killed in the accident? What if the defendant has died/passed away/been killed since the accident? What if the defendant in my loved one’s wrongful death case is dead?

If the defendant in your loved one’s case is also dead (whether that occurred in the accident or later), an Estate will need to be set up on behalf of the defendant. A Personal Representative will be appointed to represent the deceased defendant as the technical “defendant” in your loved one’s case. This rule is pursuant to Florida Statute 768.20, which can be found here:

What damages can be recovered by the survivors in my family member, relative, loved one, spouse (husband or wife), child (son or daughter) or parent’s (mother/mom or father/dad) wrongful death case? What compensation can the survivors in the wrongful death case recover/get? What can the survivors in a wrongful death case get compensated for? What damages can the spouse (husband or wife) of the deceased person/decedent recover in a wrongful death case? What compensation can the spouse (husband or wife) get in a wrongful death case?

In the State of Florida, all of the survivors of the deceased person in your wrongful death case may recover:

  1. the value of lost support and services from the date of the deceased person’s/decedent’s injury to his or her death (with interest)
  2. the value of future loss of support and services from the date of death (reduced to present value)

In addition, the spouse of the decedent (the husband or wife) may also recover for the loss of his or her spouse’s companionship, protection, and mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.

Minor children of the deceased person/decedent may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Additionally, if the deceased person/decedent had no spouse at the time of his or her death, then all of his or her children (not just the minor children) may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.

Should both spouses die within 30 days of each other, each will be considered to have been pre-deceased to the other.

Each parent of a deceased minor child may also be able to recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Additionally, if there are no other survivors, then each parent of an adult child may also be able to recover for mental pain & suffering.

Finally, if any survivor has paid for the medical treatment/bills or funeral expenses of the deceased person/decedent, then he or she is entitled to be compensated or reimbursed for those payments.

These rules all come from Florida Statute 768.21, which can be found here:

In a wrongful death case, what is lost support/how is lost support defined?

In a wrongful death case in the State of Florida, lost support refers to financial contributions. Specifically, it includes contributions in kind as well as money. The deceased person/decedent’s survivors are entitled to compensation or reimbursement for this lost or loss of support.

Factors to consider in determining lost support are the survivor’s relationship to the deceased person/decedent, the amount of the deceased person’s probable net income available for distribution to the survivor (i.e., if the deceased person had more money, he or she would be more likely or able to give money to the survivor).

In coming up with a number for future losses, the life expectancy of the deceased person/decedent (had he or she not passed away) can be considered – as well as the life expectancy of the survivor and the period of minority of any health minor children (i.e., how much longer before the children become adults).

These rules come from Florida Statute 768.18, which can be found here:

In a wrongful death case, what are lost services/how are lost services defined?

In a wrongful death case, lost services refer to tasks, usually related to the household, that were performed by the deceased person/decedent before his or her tragic death that will now be an expense for the deceased person’s survivors. The deceased person/decedent’s survivors are entitled to compensation or reimbursement for these lost services.

The amount of this compensation will be decided on a case by case basis and will obviously be bigger or more if the survivors lived with the deceased person or were close. Other factors to consider will be the survivor’s relationship to the deceased person/decedent and the replacement value of the deceased person’s services to the survivor (i.e., how much it will cost to hire somebody else to provide the services).

These rules come from Florida Statute 768.18, which can be found here:

What happens/will happen if one of the survivors in a wrongful death case passes away/dies before the case is over/done/completed/finished/settled or before the case goes to trial?

In the State of Florida, if one of the survivors in a wrongful death case passes away before the case is finished, then that survivor’s recovery shall be limited to lost support and services up to the date of his or her death. The personal representative in the wrongful death case shall pay the amount recovered for the survivor to the personal representative of the survivor who passed away.

This rule is pursuant to Florida Statute 768.24, which can be found here:

What happens if one of the survivors in a wrongful death case objects to or makes a complaint regarding the settlement of the case or to the way the money/funds/proceeds are being divided up/the apportionment of/the distribution of the money/funds/proceeds?

In the State of Florida, if one of the survivors in a wrongful death case objects to the settlement of the case or the way the funds are being divided up amongst the survivors, then the Court must approve the settlement.

In a wrongful death case, who will be considered minor children? Who are minor children in a wrongful death case? How is a minor child defined in a wrongful death case?

In the context of a wrongful death case in the State of Florida, minor children will be defined as children under the age of 25.

What damages may be recovered by the deceased person/decedent’s Estate in a wrongful death case? What can the deceased person/decedent’s Estate be compensated for in a wrongful death case?

In a wrongful death case in the State of Florida, the deceased person/decedent’s Estate may recover:

  • Loss of earnings of the deceased person/the decedent from the date of injury to the date of death, minus lost support of survivors not including contributions in kind (with interest). The logic behind this is that the deceased person’s lost earnings should go to the Estate, but not all of them. After all, a lot of the money to be made by the deceased person would have gone to pay support to his or her survivors. This lost support of the survivors is therefore subtracted from the deceased person’s loss of earnings before it goes to the Estate.

  • Loss of prospective net accumulations of the Estate, which may have been reasonably been expected if the deceased person/decedent hadn’t passed away if either 1) the deceased person’s survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendant or 2) the deceased person is not a minor child (i.e., under the age of 25), there are no lost support and services recoverable, and there is a surviving parent. If either of these is the case, then the Estate may recover for loss of prospective net accumulations of the Estate.

  • Medical or funeral expenses caused by the deceased person/decedent’s injury or death if these expenses have become a charge against the Estate or that were paid.

These rules are pursuant to Florida Statute 768.21, which can be found here:

In a wrongful death case, what are net accumulations? How are net accumulations defined?

In a wrongful death case in the State of Florida, net accumulations are defined as the deceased person/decedent’s expected net business or salary income (including pension benefits) that the deceased person likely would have retained as savings and left behind to his or her Estate if he or she had lived out his or her normal life expectancy.

This definition is pursuant to Florida Statute 768.18, which can be found here:

If I re-marry/get re-married/get married again after my spouse (husband or wife) tragically passes away/dies/is killed, can my re-marriage be used against me in my/my spouse’s (husband or wife’s) wrongful death case/is my re-marriage admissible in Court or Trial? Can the re-marriage of a surviving spouse (husband or wife) be used against the spouse/husband/wife in a wrongful death case?

In the State of Florida, the answer to this is yes. If you re-marry after your spouse tragically passes away, your re-marriage is admissible and can be used in Court. This rule is pursuant to Florida Statute 768.21, which can be found here:

Can a creditor get any of the proceeds, money or funds from the Estate in a wrongful death case?

Yes, in the State of Florida, creditors can get from the Estate of the deceased person/decedent the proceeds, money or funds from the deceased person’s wrongful death case. This is pursuant to Florida Statute 768.21, which can be found here:

If your loved one has tragically passed away due to the fault of another person or entity, call Mr. Quackenbush at 786-294-7711. He will happily give you a free, no obligation consultation and talk to you about the case at no charge to you.

Should you decide upon Mr. Quackenbush as your attorney, he will work on contingency – which means that there will be no risk to you since he won’t get paid until you’ve made a recovery in the case.

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