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Wrongful Death FAQ

Lakeland Wrongful Death Attorneys | Auburndale Personal Injury Lawyers

What is "wrongful death?"

The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is that the wrongful death, in addition to injuring the person who died, also injured people who depended upon the deceased for financial or emotional support. The wrongful act may be:

  • A negligent or careless act such as careless driving
  • A reckless act
  • An intentional act such as a deliberate murder

Almost every state has enacted a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the relatives of a person who died as a result of a wrongful act.

Q: Who can sue for wrongful death?

The individual allowed to file a wrongful death suit is defined by the state. In some states, it may be only a spouse and children. In other states, grandparents or other relatives may also be allowed to bring a lawsuit. Some states have enacted restrictions on filing when one family member would be suing another family member for the wrongful death of a third family member.

Q: How is the amount of damages determined?

The amount of damages can be a very complicated question. Survivors can usually sue for medical bills paid for the care of the person who was injured, as well as for burial expenses. But because the idea is that the survivors have been injured by the absence of the person who died, determining the amount of damages requires consideration of what probably would have occurred in the future. The damages that can be assessed may include:

  • An estimate of the amount of earnings the person who died would have earned if they had lived
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the survivors due to the absence of the deceased person

Estimates of future earnings usually require expert testimony involving the deceased person’s future earning capacity.

Q: Must a settlement be shared with all relatives?

State law, along with any documents signed by relatives and the type of action filed, would determine what, if any, obligation the relatives filing the lawsuit have in sharing the settlement.

Q: What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim?

Like many types of suits, there is a time frame that must be observed when filing the suit or the opportunity to file the claim is forever lost. The time frame for filing is set by state law. The clock begins to run from the time of the incident or, in some states, from the time the party became aware of, or discovered, the injury.

Q: What is the difference between wrongful death and medical malpractice?

Wrongful death is probably saying that a death was a result of the medical malpractice. Malpractice is basically a type of negligence and wrongful death is a type of damages. It is possible to have a medical malpractice wrongful death case, but not every medical malpractice case is a wrongful death case and not every wrongful death case is a medical malpractice case.

Q: What are "survival statutes?"

If an injured party files suit but then dies before the case is concluded, the survivors or beneficiaries (ex: the widow) may continue the suit on the behalf of the deceased or the estate of the deceased.


The experienced Lakeland personal injury attorneys at Allen & Abaray, P.A. aggressively pursue accident injury cases throughout the state of Florida. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, truck accident, slip and fall accident, or have suffered any type of injury because of someone else's negligence, call 1-863-669-9999 today for a free consultation.

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5835 U.S. Highway 98 South   Lakeland, Florida 33812   Toll Free: 877-669-6899   Ph: (863) 669-9999   Fax: (863) 669-0699