Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

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About Wrongful Death in Florida

According to Florida law, a wrongful death occurs when a person or entity causes someone else’s death by a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty. In other words, wrongful death involves the death of an individual due to a negligence-based incident (e.g., car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, etc.), medical malpractice, a dangerous or defective product, or an intentional act.

To file a wrongful death claim in Florida, the following elements must be met:

  • A human life was lost because of another person’s actions
  • The actions which led to the victim’s death was a negligent or intentional act
  • The victim’s death affected the surviving members of the victim’s family financially
  • The victim’s death resulted in expenses and monetary damages

While relatives of the deceased individual can file a wrongful death lawsuit in other states, Florida is not one of them. Instead, the personal representative—also known as the “executor”—of the deceased person’s estate must file a wrongful death claim.

What is the Role of a Personal Representative?

In general, when someone passes away in Florida, an estate is created in order to administer the deceased person’s affairs through the probate court. An estate consists of the deceased individual’s bank accounts, properties, and other assets.

The personal representative acts on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members (e.g., the deceased person’s spouse, the deceased person’s child(ren), the deceased person’s parents, and other blood relatives who were at least partially dependent on the individual for support). Additionally, he/she must list all possible heirs and beneficiaries when filing the lawsuit and distribute proceeds from any verdict or settlement in a reasonable and equitable manner to each survivor.

Who Can be a Personal Representative?

Under Florida probate law, a personal representative can be a person, bank, trust company, or any other similar entity. A member of the deceased person’s family can be a personal representative.

In some cases, a deceased person has already chosen a personal representative in his/her will or trust. If a personal representative has not been selected prior to the deceased individual’s death, a surviving family may assume the role.

If you have lost a loved one in Bonita Springs or within the surrounding area and you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, call Pittman Law Firm, P.L. at (239) 603-6913 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. With more than 25 years of legal experience, our legal team has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients!

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