Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, and other tragic events form the basis of many personal injury lawsuits in Florida. Where death is involved, they usually include the filing of a claim for damages resulting from the victim’s wrongful death against the negligent person. Damages based upon wrongful death can include a wide variety of things, from seeking reimbursement for funeral expenses to the long-term loss of parental guidance and support for the decedent’s children.
Wrongful death litigation can be complicated. Calculating the monetary damages, including estimating the number of years the decedent otherwise would have lived, is difficult. Determining what individuals are the proper parties in the wrongful death lawsuit can also be problematic. For example, a personal representative is the person authorized to file a lawsuit in a wrongful death case. But who is the proper personal representative? Sometimes a surviving spouse from a second marriage will file a wrongful death lawsuit and not include the correct beneficiaries. Other times a dispute will exist as to who will serve as the personal representative and thus who will control the decisions and the money from any award of the wrongful death lawsuit.
In an attempt to insure justice when someone’s life has been taken due to the wrongful act of another, specific statutes have been established in the State of Florida. The Florida law regarding wrongful death has been entitled “the Florida’s Wrongful Death Act” by the Florida legislature, and the Act itself can be found as part of the Florida statutes, in Sections 768.16 – 768.26 of the Florida statutes’ chapter dealing with Negligence.