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When Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville

Personal injury lawsuits are designed to pay you back when someone else’s behavior caused you harm. Common examples include car wreck injuries, slip and fall accidents, and defective product claims.

Sometimes, however, the injured person does not survive. For this reason, the law created wrongful death lawsuits. These cases allow you to sue in place of the deceased individual.

Here are some examples of when it is appropriate to sue someone for wrongful death.


In legal terms, you can think of negligence as something a person didn’t do rather than what they did. For instance, if you slip on a slick surface at a coffee shop, the management was negligent in cleaning the mess promptly.

Negligence comes in many forms when it comes to lawsuits. A boss could be negligent of their workers’ safety, creating a hazardous environment. Drivers can be negligent in obeying traffic laws. Product manufacturers can be negligent in properly labeling their products, and so on. If any examples of negligence lead to death, you have a strong case for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Direct, Intentional Harm

When someone intentionally hurts another person, they can face criminal penalties. This is an overall positive result for society, but it may not help the victim’s family.

When someone means to hurt another, and that act results in death, you can sue them. Regardless of whether they were found guilty in criminal court, you can still seek financial justice in civil court.

Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In Florida, the family of the deceased can receive compensation for their loved one’s death. A wrongful death suit can pay for any expenses associated with the injury or death. This includes medical expenses, funeral costs, and so forth.

Family can also receive compensation for their grief. They may be entitled to pain and suffering damages, and they could also receive compensation for their loss of support. Losing a loved one has a direct impact on your daily life. A parent, for instance, must completely restructure their routine after losing their spouse. The damages they could receive in a lawsuit will help give them a financial cushion as they must now function without the support of the other parent.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Standards vary from state to state. In Florida, only the personal representative, or PR, of an estate can file a wrongful death suit.

When someone passes, there must be a person who manages the estate. This person, the PR, handles the will, distribution of assets, and so on. You can name this person in your will, or they can be elected by the court.

A PR has a lot of work to do. If they are not closely related to the deceased, they may not have much incentive to file a wrongful death case. Remember, only the family members can be compensated. You may need to work out a deal with a PR, cutting them in on any potential winnings from the lawsuit. Talk with your attorney about your ability to file the suit and what you can do to move it forward.

Our firm can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit. We can work with the estate’s personal representative, helping you receive the justice you deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at (904) 701-0591 or contact us online**Consultation fees may apply to family law consultations.