If you have lost a loved one in an automobile accident or know someone who has, you may wonder if there is a way to seek damages from the negligent driver under law. Deaths that result from negligence fall under the category of wrongful death. Even if the state never charges a negligent party with a crime, it is still possible to seek damages under civil law.
Like other states, Florida has its own wrongful death law. If you lose a loved one due to the negligence of a driver, a medical professional, a business, or another entity, you have the right to litigate the negligent party for damages.
According to Florida statute 768.19, you may bring a civil suit against another individual or party, provided certain circumstances exist. These conditions involve cases when the death of a person happens because of default, negligence, wrongful act, or a breach of contract.
Wrongful deaths are not limited to people dying on land. Many Floridians enjoy the lakes and coastal waters of the state, but unfortunately, negligent actions such as a boat accident may take the life of someone on water. State law makes it clear that if you lose a relative due to negligent actions on water, you may still bring a wrongful death claim.
In the event you do consider filing a wrongful death suit, time is a factor. The law does not allow an infinite amount of time to litigate a party for damages. This is because Florida places a statute of limitations for wrongful death suits.
A statute of limitations is the amount of time a person has to file a claim in court. In Florida, you have two years to file a wrongful death suit following the death of your loved one. If you wait any longer, even if you have a valid claim, a court may not accept your case.
Holding someone accountable
People pursue wrongful death suits for a number of reasons. Usually, they seek to collect monetary damages because of the loss of a loved one, especially if a family loses the breadwinner of the family. However, you may also file a wrongful death suit to seek justice. While a negligent party may not be guilty of a crime under criminal law, wrongful suits are another way to hold a negligent person accountable for his or her actions.