When you first lose a loved one, you probably won’t want to be thinking about filing a lawsuit immediately afterward. However, you may be facing expenses from your loved one’s death such as medical bills and funeral costs, in addition to possibly managing a household without your loved one’s help or income. Finding a compassionate, experienced attorney to assist you in pursuing a claim for wrongful death can make the process much less stressful than trying to do it alone, and could help to alleviate concerns about money in the wake of a death. Lawsuits based on wrongful death vary a great deal from state to state, both in terms of who can recover, and the requirements of when a lawsuit must be filed. It is important to find an attorney who is well-versed in the wrongful death laws in your state. The attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett are experienced in the wrongful death laws of both Alabama and Florida.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute
In the state of Florida, wrongful death actions must be filed on behalf of the decedent’s estate, but survivors can also receive compensation as parties to a wrongful death action. This means that the person acting as a plaintiff in a lawsuit is someone either named in a will by the deceased person as their personal representative, or someone named to that role by the court. In that lawsuit, the survivors of the deceased person who are owed money as a result of the individual’s wrongful death will also be included as parties. This would include the deceased person’s spouse, children, parents, and siblings or blood relatives who were dependent on the person who died for support. Generally, such lawsuits must be filed within four years of the individual’s death.
Alabama’s Wrongful Death Statute
In Alabama, the rules are slightly different in regards to who may recover from a wrongful death lawsuit. Like Florida, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. Unlike Florida, Alabama intends its wrongful death law only as a way to punish the negligent or reckless act committed by the defendant that led to the individual’s death, and not as a way to compensate family members for their loss or expenses stemming from their relative’s death. That said, proceeds from a wrongful death suit will be distributed to the deceased person’s heirs, along with any other money or assets left behind by that person. Wrongful death lawsuits in Alabama must generally be filed within two years of the death.
If you’ve lost a family member as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss in Alabama or Florida courts. Contact experienced wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible to find out whether you may benefit from filing a lawsuit. Call the knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett for a consultation on your claims, at 850-434-5395. Our attorneys are available to assist you with claims in Pensacola, Mobile, Ft. Walton, and throughout Escambia and Okaloosa County.