For most people, losing a loved one in an accident creates an emotional void that far surpasses any economic pain that they may experience after the loss. This does not, however, mean that the economic costs associated with a wrongful death are inconsequential.
In many cases, the victim accumulates hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills before they pass. There is also often a loss of income and future earnings. If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you should be made whole for your economic losses, not to mention your pain and suffering.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in the State of Florida
Wrongful death lawsuits are extremely complicated and involve the collection of many different types of evidence. A wrongful death personal injury lawyer must gather medical records, medical examiner reports (if applicable), accident reports, witness statements, financial records, and physical evidence to name a few. This could take a team of attorneys months to compile, depending on the complexity of the incident.
For most accidents in Florida, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident, but with wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is only two years from the date of death. That may seem like a long time, but considering the amount of information involved, it goes quickly. That’s why it’s important to find an attorney as soon as possible.
Length of Time for Settling or Winning a Wrongful Death Suit
Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits of any kind tend to drag out. It’s difficult to put an average time on wrongful death suits because the circumstances of the cases vary widely. You may expect to be waiting for one to four years depending on your case. You should not be concerned about the statute of limitations being only two years. That’s the amount of time you have to file your suit. Once it’s filed, your case won’t expire.
Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Cases:
Personal injury law identifies two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Here are the differences.
These are the types of damages that can readily be assigned a monetary value. In a wrongful death case, they can include medical expenses, property damage, nursing care, funeral expenses, lost wages, lost future earnings, etc. These damages can be substantial, particularly if the victim was younger and had a career since the expected future earnings would be higher than an older person who was retired.
No amount can truly compensate for the loss of human life, but non-economic damages attempt to provide compensation for the emotionally trying elements of the death. These include pain and suffering (for the victim) and loss of companionship for the survivors. Depending on the number of decedents, the victim’s age, and a number of other factors, this amount can be significant.
What You Should do if a Loved One Dies in an Accident
Whether you expect your loved one to die or make a full recovery, you should retain the services of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may not know what lies ahead in the future, but if your loved one has injuries, they’re entitled to compensation. If they succumb to their injuries, it’s possible to convert the claim to a wrongful death action.