Personal Representatives in Wrongful Death Claims
Our Tampa Wrongful Death Law Firm Explains the Personal Representative Law in Florida
When a family loses a loved one needlessly because someone committed a wrongful or negligent act, no amount of money can truly compensate them for that loss. Still, Florida's negligence legislation includes a wrongful death provisions with the intent to shift the monetary losses from the survivors to the wrongdoer who is ultimately liable for the death. Because of the complexities involved in determining which parties have the right to pursue compensation and other issues, our Tampa wrongful death law firm works closely with the Personal Representatives of a decedent’s estate when pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Personal Representatives Initiate Wrongful Death Claims
It is natural to assume that a decedent's survivors would have the right to pursue all expenses related to the loss of a loved one, along with future damages, such as the loss of future earnings, emotional support and companionship for years to come. However, where is the line between legally-acceptable survivors and others who may believe they have a right to compensation?
The list of survivors begins clearly enough and includes surviving spouses and dependent children. After that, the list becomes more complex and may include other relatives who depended on the decedent for support. A number of conditions define which individuals have a right to pursue wrongful death claims.
Rather than permitting survivors to file wrongful death claims, Florida law requires a Personal Representative be appointed by a probate court to initiate litigation on behalf of a decedent’s estate. While a Personal Representative is often the spouse of the decedent, it can be anyone designated by the decedent prior to death or by the courts in the absence of a Will.
Personal Representatives are Responsible for the Estate
The proceeds from wrongful death claims are generally paid to the estate of the decedent. Since personal representatives are responsible for receiving income and paying expenses related to that estate, wrongful death claim income distribution falls within their duties. However, this role can quickly become very complex, including issues such as the following:
- Disputes from one or more parties who have alleged liability for the incident that caused the death
- Claims from relatives not initially expected to be included in the wrongful death claim
- Contractual obligations from business partners of the decedent who expect to be part of the wrongful death claim
In most cases, Personal Representatives are highly-trusted individuals, but they are not attorneys. They generally do not have the understanding of Florida's complex statutes necessary to perform the tasks required of them. That being the case, it is very important for Florida Personal Representatives to seek help from experienced wrongful death attorneys.
Let Our Tampa Wrongful Death Law Firm Assist with All Aspects of Your Claim
With more than three decades of experience protecting the rights of injury victims and their families, the attorneys at Alley, Clark & Griewe are here to help. Call us at 813-222-0977 or use our online contact form for the advice and support you need.