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Common Questions About Experiencing A Wrongful Death of a Loved One

It is natural to have many questions and worries when faced with a legal issue or litigation. The experienced lawyers at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., ask many common legal questions and provide useful answers to help get you in making the best decisions for you and your family.

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  • How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?

    Time limits on wrongful death claims in GAIt's understandable that a wrongful death claim isn't at the forefront of your mind in the aftermath of a sudden loss. Family members may take weeks or even months to consider filing a lawsuit after the death of a relative simply because they're overwhelmed with grief and practical matters.

    Fortunately, the law takes this into account by placing a reasonable time limit, called the statute of limitations, on the right of the family to sue for damages.

    Florida Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims

    In Florida, the statute of limitations on injury cases is four years from the date of the car accident, fall, or other incident that resulted in injury. However, in cases where someone’s negligence results in death, close family members have only two years from the date of death to file a claim for compensation.

    It's rare for the two-year time limit to be extended, but it may be possible in a few specific situations:

    • Cases against the government. If a government entity is responsible for the death, the case follows a different process with special filing procedures. The notification requirements must be completed within three years, and the statute of limitations is extended to four years.
    • Murder. If the death resulted from homicide, the statute of limitations may not begin on the date of death, but on the date that the person responsible is identified or arrested.
    • Medical malpractice. If the death resulted from medical negligence, relatives have two years from the date when the cause of death is discovered to file a claim, rather than the date of death.

    As you can see, it's better to get advice from an experienced Florida injury attorney sooner rather than later. At DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., we secure the rightful compensation you need to put your accident behind you—and we don't collect any fees until your case is won. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation.


  • What’s the difference between a personal injury claim and a wrongful death claim?

    What is a wrongful death claim?When a person is injured through someone else’s negligence, they have the right to pursue damages through a personal injury claim. However, if a victim suffers a fatal accident, the right to sue passes to their family members and is now called a wrongful death claim.

    Types of Accidents and Injuries That May Lead to a Florida Wrongful Death Claim

    Under Florida law, any injury caused by a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person” entitles a victim to recover damages. 

    A wrongful death claim may follow many different types of injury cases where someone has died, including:

    • Motor vehicle accidents. These are common causes of wrongful death, especially for victims of drunk drivers, truck crashes, pedestrian injuries, and motorcycle accidents.
    • Slips and falls. A dangerous slip or fall could give rise to a premises liability action, forcing a negligent property owner to pay for damages.
    • Dog bites. A dog attack on a child or senior citizen may result in death, causing severe emotional trauma and pain and suffering to the family.
    • Defective drugs. Parents and family members of victims who were killed by a fatal overdose, drug interaction, or defective medical device could sue the product manufacturer for wrongful death.

    While no amount of money can replace a lost loved one, a wrongful death claim might offer closure and compensation for you and your family. Damages may include significant payments to the deceased person's estate, including lost wages, benefits, and medical and funeral expenses.

    If someone in your family was fatally injured through negligence, attorney Paul Cavonis will listen to your story and explain your rights and options under the law. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.


  • What’s the difference between a survival action and a wrongful death claim?

    difference between wrongful death claim and survival action If your loved one was fatally injured in an accident, you and other surviving family members may be able to pursue a claim for damages under Florida law.

    Depending on the circumstances, you could be eligible to file either a wrongful death claim or a survival action to recover compensation for an injured party’s death. Let's take a look at the differences between these two types of claims.

    What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

    A wrongful death claim involves a person killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Some examples include being struck by a drunk driver, falling from a height due to a lack of railings, or slipping on someone else’s property.

    State laws give all accident victims the legal right to file injury claims in order to recover payment. Since a fatally-injured victim can't file a claim on their own behalf, the right to bring an injury claim falls to the next of kin. In most cases, only a surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death claim.

    Potential damages in a wrongful death case may include:

    • Compensation for funeral expenses
    • Loss of financial contribution
    • Lost parental support
    • Loss of household assistance
    • Loss of consortium
    • Emotional trauma

    The amount awarded depends on the claimant’s relationship to the deceased person, the deceased person’s assets and income, and the value of the deceased person’s services to the family.

    What Is a Survival Action?

    A survival action is an extension of an existing legal claim filed by an injured party. For example, a victim may file an injury claim after being struck by a piece of falling construction equipment, but is killed in a car accident while the case is still pending. If this happens, the victim’s surviving family members may pursue a survival action to recover the compensation the individual would be owed had he or she survived.

    Survival actions are different from wrongful death claims because they seek compensation for the pain and suffering the injured party endured before his or her death. The death doesn't have to be related to the injury for which damages are sought in order for a survival action to be successful.

    Damages in survival claims may include compensation for loss of income, medical bills, and pain and suffering between the accident and the time of death. They vary depending on the duration of the suffering after the accident, the severity of pain, and the variety of symptoms the victim suffered prior to death.

    The attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can examine the details of your case and determine whether you may be eligible to file a wrongful death or survival action claim. Reach out to us using the information on this page to set up a consultation with a Florida wrongful death attorney.

  • How do I pay my medical bills after a Florida car accident?

    woman figuring billsNot every injured driver needs to pursue a lawsuit to get injury coverage after a crash. There are several different options available to pay for your medical costs after a Florida car accident, including:

    • No-fault car insurance. All Florida drivers are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage from an auto insurance company.

      Since Florida is a no fault car accident state, all drivers claim their injuries and losses on their own car’s insurance policy. If you're not insured under any auto policy and were injured as a passenger, you can request payment under the PIP medical coverage of the vehicle you were riding in. If you were injured as a pedestrian, you can seek medical coverage from any covered vehicle involved in the accident. PIP will generally cover up to $10,000 of your medical costs.
    • MedPay. Medical Payment Insurance Coverage, or MedPay, is an optional benefit that helps cover Florida car accident costs. MedPay covers the co-pay that your PIP requires, which can be up to two thousand dollars. Depending on the coverage you've selected, you may be able to use MedPay for costs that PIP insurance doesn't reimburse.
    • Health insurance. If your medical bills exceed the amount paid for through your auto insurance, you can submit claims to your personal health insurance providers. Your health insurance carrier usually wants you to exhaust as much as you can through your car insurance before accessing health care benefits.
    • Medicare and Medicaid. If you rely on federal programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, these programs will pay for your medical bills related to a car accident. However, you may be asked for reimbursement for some or all of these costs.
    • Workers’ compensation. If your car accident happened while you were performing job-related duties, your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage is required to pay all of your medical bills, including deductibles, co-pays, and transportation expenses incurred while going to and from your doctors’ appointments.
    • Injury lawsuit. If your medical costs far exceed the amount of your insurance coverage, you may consider suing the at-fault driver. You still have to pay your bills as your case is being decided, but the settlement you receive should but calculated carefully to include any fees or financial hardship you have endured while waiting for the resolution of your case.

    Our attorneys can help determine the best way for you to get medical coverage after your injury. Contact us today for a prompt response from a member of our legal team.


  • What types of compensation can I collect in a Florida injury case?

    lawyer consulting with clientFinancial difficulties are the biggest reason injury victims consider filing a lawsuit. Victims are often unable to work as they go through long and painful recoveries, racking up medical bills with no way to pay for their losses. Pursuing an injury case allows victims to recover a large portion of the costs they have already paid, but also an amount for future losses their injuries may cause.

    Different Types of Damages Awarded to Florida Injury Victims

    Florida courts can award two types of monetary settlements, also called damages, to injury victims. Economic damages are the award for the costs a victim has already paid, and can be totaled and estimated easily. Non-economic damages are awarded on top of calculable losses, and include additional payments that may not be easily quantified, such as payment for unnecessary suffering.

    Injury victims typically seek compensation for:

    • Past medical treatment. Emergency room visits, hospital stays, prescription medicines, physical therapy, rehabilitative devices, and any medical bills related to the accident may be recovered. If you were forced to make modifications to your home or vehicle due to the injury, these may also be recompensed.
    • Future medical costs. Injuries that have caused long-lasting health problems or permanent disabilities can cost a victim thousands of dollars each year. Courts may assign an additional amount to cover these costs.
    • Property damages. Injuries that caused damage to your home, car, or other property may be included in your settlement, such as the replacement value of your vehicle.
    • Lost wages. Injury victims may receive payment for the wages they lost while they were out of work. They can also be granted an amount to compensate them for the loss of income they'll suffer as a result of long-term injury or disability.
    • Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is a form of non-economic compensation. It's awarded only in certain cases, such as if a victim has suffered severe physical and emotional pain, inconvenience, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, or loss of enjoyment of life. Most Florida injury cases that qualify for pain and suffering damages involve permanent injuries or long-term suffering.
    • Punitive damages. These are another form of non-economic damages that are meant to punish the wrongdoer for his or her negligence.

    Our personal injury attorney can help determine the proper amount for your economic and non-economic damages, giving you the best chance of recovery for your injury. Contact us today for a prompt response from a member of our legal team.