Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits Against Deceased Defendants

After a Florida car accident, injury victims and their loved ones may face a daunting road ahead of them. These accidents can leave victims with significant injuries that may impact their livelihood and daily activities. In addition to complex substantive rules, Florida courts maintain a series of procedural rules that can make a recovery difficult. These challenges become more evident when the at-fault party dies during the accident or during proceedings. Cases in which the at-fault party dies require a comprehensive understanding of the intersection between Florida tort and probate laws. It is essential that injury victims contact an attorney to discuss how the death of a defendant may impact their claim.

A recent Florida car accident highlights a situation where a family may need to file a claim against a deceased defendant’s estate. A local news report described a fiery Florida head-on collision involving an Infiniti traveling the wrong way. The wrong-way driver slammed into a Chevy that was carrying a pregnant mother and her five children. The collision caused the Infiniti to burst into flames. Two people inside the Infiniti died upon impact; however, the pregnant mother and her children survived the accident.

In cases like this, Florida’s law clarifies that a cause of action does not die with the person. However, the cause of action may be inadvertently extinguished if the party seeking recovery does not comply with the state’s procedural rules. The statute governs situations where the party dies pending litigation and before litigation begins.

Fla. R. Civ.P.1.260 provides that the court may order substitution of appropriate parties if a party dies and the claim is not extinguished. From a public policy perspective, the law allows people to continue their lawful claims against the estate of the at-fault party. In most cases, the decedent’s representative or administrator of their estate can be substituted for the decedent themselves. The parties must comply with the 90-day-rule, which requires that the substitution be made within 90 days of the party’s death. Moreover, plaintiffs in pending litigation may need to make a claim against creditors that are seeking funds from the decedent’s estate. Florida’s probate rules also address the procedural rules to filing a claim against a decedent before the claim begins.

On top of the already complicated nature of these claims, these proceedings often raise additional roadblocks. Issues may arise when the plaintiff fails to make a motion for a substitution promptly or if the estate’s personal representative dies. Plaintiffs facing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a deceased defendant should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Florida Accident?

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries or died in a Florida car accident, contact the injury attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. The lawyers at our office have extensive experience handling complex Florida personal injury and wrongful death claims. Our dedicated attorneys have the skills, resources, and tools to handle all types of Florida injury claims. We understand the importance of recovering damages after an accident, and we work to ensure that the recovery process is as streamlined as possible. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with a South Florida injury attorney on our team.


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