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Can You File an Injury Claim on Behalf of Someone in Florida?

Fiol & Morros Law Group|Posted in Wrongful Death on September 23, 2019

A personal injury claim could grant an injured victim the justice he or she needs to move forward. A successful injury claim in Florida could end in compensation for losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, income losses and medical expenses. Sometimes, however, a victim suffers such severe injuries that he or she is unable to bring a claim alone. If your loved one suffered an incapacitating injury, such as a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, you can get help from a Tampa personal injury attorney.

Can You Legally File a Personal Injury Claim on Behalf of Someone Else?

The law in Florida does not permit just anyone to bring a personal injury claim for another person. You will only have the right to file an injury claim on someone else’s behalf if you have a special relationship with that person. If you are friends with someone who was recently injured in an accident, for example, friendship alone will not be enough to give you the right to file a lawsuit for the individual. You must be the person’s parent, guardian, power of attorney or representative of the estate.

If the injured party is not your child, you must be a privileged party to file a claim on his or her behalf. In general, you must be the person’s power of attorney or medical proxy. These are titles the individual must give you through signed legal documents. As the victim’s power of attorney, you will have the legal authority to act for him or her in certain legal matters, including personal injury claims. If you are the person’s medical proxy, you may already be his or her power of attorney by extension. Being an administrator of the estate may also give you the right to file a claim.

If the injured party did not appoint a power of attorney or estate administrator before the incapacitating injury, a judge may appoint one after the fact. As the spouse, parent or someone close to the injured person, you may petition the courts for power of attorney after the victim’s accident. You will not, however, have the final say in whom the judge appoints. The judge may appoint two or more guardians, conservators or powers of attorney in some cases.

Can You File a Claim for a Fatal Accident?

Fatal accidents are different from typical injury claims. Florida’s wrongful death laws only grant the option of filing this type of claim to one party: the representative of the deceased person’s estate. While many states open the floor to other family members, loved ones and dependents to file a claim on a deceased loved one’s behalf, Florida is not one of them. Unless you are the representative of the estate, you will not have the authority to bring a wrongful death claim in Tampa after a fatal accident.

In most cases, the representative of the estate is the executor of the decedent’s will. If the deceased person did not name an executor in a last will, the courts will appoint an appropriate party to serve as the representative. Most courts will choose a surviving family member of the deceased person, such as a spouse, child or parent. The representative may then bring a wrongful death claim for losses such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, the loved one’s damages, medical expenses, and funeral and burial costs.

Can You File a Claim for Your Child?

If the injured party is your child, you will generally have the right to file a claim on his or her behalf. In many injury cases, your child could also wait until he or she turns 18 to file independently. The courts will generally toll, or extend, the statute of limitations on cases involving minors until the age of majority. Filing sooner on behalf of your child, however, could be best, while the facts and evidence of the case are still fresh. Speak with an injury and spinal cord injury lawyer in Tampa for more information about bringing an injury claim on someone else’s behalf.