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No one, no matter the circumstances, should suffer the premature loss of a family member because of another person’s wrongful or negligent act. If your family has been forced into this unimaginable situation, pursuing civil litigation may not be a priority right now. However, demanding fair financial compensation could be essential in protecting your best interests both now and in the future.
Guidance from a capable and compassionate Lehigh Acres wrongful death lawyer could be vital to proactively pursue this type of litigation without putting too much additional heartache or stress on you or your loved ones. Even if criminal proceedings against a person responsible for your family member’s death are ongoing, a dedicated personal injury attorney could still help you demand fair civil restitution regardless of the criminal case’s outcome.
Rules for Wrongful Death Litigation
If someone who passes away in an accident or from another person’s criminal act would have been able to file an injury claim had they survived, their representative could file a wrongful death suit. However, per Florida Statutes §768.20, only the personal representative for a deceased person’s estate can file a claim under these circumstances. Typically, this is someone nominated in the decedent’s will to fulfill that role.
This representative may seek compensation for damages suffered by eligible beneficiaries of a decedent, a decedent’s estate, and a decedent personally between when they were injured and when they ultimately passed away. As noted under Fla. Stat. §768.21, specific losses that often factor into claims of this nature include:
- Lost future financial support or value of inheritance
- Lost household services and assistance
- Lost love, companionship, guidance, and support
- Emotional anguish
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills for treatment a decedent received before passing away
- Physical pain and suffering experienced by a decedent
A knowledgeable attorney in Lehigh Acres could go into further detail about what damages are available in a wrongful death claim during a private consultation.
Could Criminal Prosecution Affect a Wrongful Death Case?
It is possible and common for wrongful death litigation to proceed before a related criminal case against a defendant has concluded. Importantly, the outcome of either case has no direct bearing on the final decision of the other. A person acquitted of criminal wrongdoing may still be found civilly liable for causing someone else’s death, and a judgement of civil fault does not necessarily imply criminal fault.
Per Fla. Stat. §95.11(10), there is no statutory filing deadline for wrongful death litigation based on an alleged act of murder or manslaughter, even if law enforcement has not formally charged an individual with a crime. Otherwise, the filing deadline is generally two years after the decedent’s death date. A wrongful death lawyer in Lehigh Acres could explain the deadlines related to a claim.
Speak with a Lehigh Acres Wrongful Death Attorney About Legal Options
No amount of civil compensation can replace the void left behind in your life when a loved one unexpectedly dies. It could provide much-needed financial stability to your family as you process your grief and work through the various personal and emotional effects that a tragic experience like this could have.
A seasoned Lehigh Acres wrongful death lawyer could provide legal advocacy and guidance throughout the legal proceedings you want to pursue. Call today to discuss your case.