Best Wrongful Death Lawyers Jacksonville, FL Of 2024 – Forbes

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The first step to filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Jacksonville is determining if you have grounds. An attorney can determine if your case meets the state’s legal definition of negligent death resulting from someone else’s wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract or warranty.

Some of the most common types of wrongful death claims in Florida are motor vehicle accidents, swimming pool accidents, medical malpractice and nursing home negligence. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to sue multiple parties for damages.

Florida Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

You have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Jacksonville, starting from the date of your loved one’s death. However, if a family doesn’t realize the deceased was the victim of negligence, the timeline won’t start until the date they discover it.

Courts are very strict and refuse filing once the statute expires except in extenuating circumstances. For instance, the Florida medical malpractice statute of limitations extends to four years if negligence isn’t uncovered until later. Similarly, wrongful deaths involving murder or manslaughter can be filed at any time and regardless of whether the defendant is convicted.

Florida Wrongful Death Laws

Florida legislature updated its wrongful death laws in recent years, removing caps on non-economic damages. Plaintiffs can sue for full coverage of their financial losses, including funeral costs, lost wages and inheritance.

Other damage caps still apply to certain Florida wrongful death cases:

  • Punitive damage caps. You can seek up to $500,000 or three times the amount in economic and non-economic damages, whichever is greater. So if you settle for $500,000, you could sue for up to $1.5 million in punitive damages.
  • Non-economic damage caps on claims against the state. Wrongful death claims against Florida government are capped at $200,000 per incident. If there are multiple plaintiffs, the damages will be split among them.
  • No caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims. Florida dropped the $1 million cap on medical malpractice claims in 2014. Hire a skilled wrongful death lawyer in Jacksonville to determine how much to seek for your loss of companionship.

Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate or family member like a spouse, child, parent or sibling can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members seek non-economic compensation for pain and suffering and loss of support while the estate receives economic compensation for lost wages and any value the deceased would have earned had they been alive. In cases involving criminal behavior or gross negligence, family may also seek punitive damages.

Wrongful Death Settlement Considerations

Although only one family member is appointed as personal representative, they speak for every estate beneficiary, and the settlement will be dispersed to each eligible relative, including:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings

Siblings must be partially or wholly dependent on the deceased to qualify, and the representative must list them on the claim to receive a portion of the settlement amount.

A portion of the settlement may also be subject to taxes, including punitive damages and any interest accrued during appeal. Your economic and non-economic compensation will not be taxed, but you may still owe the IRS after the final ruling. Speak with a wrongful death lawyer in Jacksonville to understand how your settlement will be divided.

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