Visitor Question

Pursuing Injury Settlement After Death of Family Member?

Submitted By: Jessie (Florida)

This is a question relating to a slip and fall case in the state of Florida…

The person who fell and was injured died 13 months after the accident (not necessarily from the slip and fall, but possibly). What options does the family have if the case still was not settled at the time of death? Can they continue to pursue the case? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Jessie,

Once a person passes on, a part of them remains in legal existence. That means when they pass, whatever possessions thay had when they passed, whether it was a pair of socks or millions of dollars, they leave in an “estate”. If they passed on with a will they died “testate” and in their will they probably named an executor. That executor is normally the person who has the legal right to institute legal proceedings on behalf of the deceased and her estate.

If the person passed without a will, or “intestate” there isn’t any executor. This means whoever wants to pursue legal action in the form of a “wrongful death” case will first have to petition the court in the county where the deceased lived just before he passed. That petition is a request to the court for “Letters Testamentary”. In effect those are the powers a Judge will give to the petitioner to pursue legal action on behalf of the deceased’s estate.

So depending upon which scenario above applies to the deceased you are referring to, the legal action will have to proceed accordingly.

In Florida the Statute of Limitations, or “time period” in which a legally appointed representative has to either settle the case or file a lawsuit is four (4) years. As you can see, there is plenty of time.

Your best bet would be to consult with several person injury attorneys. Most will not charge any fee for an initial office consultation. See if you can find one who has substantial experience in Wrongful Death cases.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 17, 2012

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