If a relative dies because of another person’s wrongful or negligent behavior, surviving family members may, with the help of wrongful death attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, pursue a legal claim. The purpose of these lawsuits is to gain compensation for the economic losses caused by a family member’s death. However, when a wrongful death occurs, who is eligible to file the claim?

What Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

When people lose their lives because of someone else’s misconduct or negligence, which includes murder, survivors can sue for . Most of these lawsuits come after criminal trials and utilize much of the same evidence. However, the standard of proof is much lower. When someone is found liable, they may or may not be convicted of an associated criminal offense.

Who May File a Claim?

Although the question is simple, the answer isn’t so clear-cut. Florida law provides that the decedent’s beneficiaries can file a claim, including spouses, children, the parents of an unmarried person, domestic partners, siblings and financial dependents. Survivors are classed according to their closeness to the deceased. For example, the first class would include spouses and children. When a decedent has no living relatives, non-related dependents may be able to file a claim.

Losses to the Estate System

Some jurisdictions use the “losses to the estate” system, which limits eligibility to the estate rather than the beneficiaries. Here, an estate representative may bring a case seeking compensation. Cases are filed under the representative’s name, but recovered damages are disbursed to estate beneficiaries. In the state of Florida, one must be a decedent’s child, spouse or dependent blood relative to bring a claim.

Wrongful death cases are complex, and no two are alike. If you have any questions or if you believe you have a case, contact wrongful death attorneys in Fort Lauderdale today.