Wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits that are brought to court when one party’s negligent act leads to another person’s death. In these cases, the plaintiffs are the survivors of the deceased party, usually a spouse or a minor child. Wrongful death cases can arise following medical malpractices, auto accidents, workers’ compensation, or even defective products.
These cases can be complicated, and going by the state laws surrounding these cases, including the statute of limitations and eligibility laws, getting a qualified Auburndale wrongful death lawyer would help you build a strong claim and guarantee compensation for the death of your loved one. Get in touch with our Auburndale personal injury firm today so we can pair you to one of our qualified attorneys to increase your chances of winning your case.
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How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
According to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, a person can file a lawsuit against another person who is held liable for death caused by any wrongful act, default, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty. As such, wrongful death includes intentional acts, negligent acts, and breach of contract and warranty. Some of the legal ground for a wrongful death claim in Auburndale, Florida, include:
- Defective or mislabeled products –Wrongful deaths caused by the use of harmful, mislabeled, or defective products like drugs, appliances, electronics, or medical devices may lead to product liability claims.
- Medical malpractice – Misdiagnosis, wrong prescriptions, surgical errors, and misdiagnosis may also be grounds for wrongful death claims in Florida.
- Engineering and construction malpractices, which could cause workplace hazards.
- Acts of crime, including intentional homicides.
- Auto accidents due to driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Fatal pedestrian accidents.
- Sanitation issues, such as contaminated food, in commercial establishments.
- Improper alcohol service, such as a bartender who continues to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
A Florida wrongful death claim can be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, who might be named in the deceased person’s estate plan or will. Where there’s no will or estate plan, the court appoints the personal representative, who files the claim on behalf of the estate or surviving family members of the deceased person. For these claims, it is required that the personal representative indicate every survivor with interest in the case.
Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, the following parties may bring a wrongful death claim:
- Deceased person’s spouse, child, or parent.
- Dependent blood relative or adoptive sibling, who’s was partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for support.
- An out-of-wedlock child, as long as it can be established that the father assumed the responsibility to support the child.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
Liability in a wrongful death claim is solely expressed in terms of money damages. Florida Statutes section 768.21 spells out the state’s rules for awarding damages in such lawsuits. Damages are often split into two: those that the estate and the survivors of the deceased can recover.
The survivors can recover damages for:
- Value of support and services provided by the deceased person.
- Emotional and mental pain and suffering following the loss of a child or parent.
- Loss of companionship, protection, and guidance provided by the deceased person.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by the deceased person’s survivors.
- The deceased person’s estate can also recover damages for:
- Lost wages and other earnings, including the earnings that the deceased could have reasonably been expected to make.
- Lost net accumulations or the value of earnings the estate could have reasonably been expected to collect from the deceased person.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid directly by the estate.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
In Florida, the pillars that help prove negligence in a wrongful death case include:
The plaintiff has to show the court that the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care in the given circumstances.
The plaintiff must also show how the defendant violated or breached the duty of care. This could be proven through a specific action or inaction, or by showing how a reasonable person would have acted in the same situation.
It is also crucial to proving that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of death.
The plaintiff should also prove that the defendant’s actions resulted in death and not any other cause.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Florida law requires that the personal representative of the decedent file a wrongful death claim within two years of a person’s death. While finding a lawyer may not be a priority after losing a loved one, starting the process by hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney significantly boosts your legal recovery chances.
Attorneys who specialize in wrongful death claims understand the legal process thoroughly. As such, they will help you build a strong case against the plaintiff. What’s more, having a lawyer ensures that you stick to the strict deadlines and present specific documents that may be required when filing the claim.
Reach Out to Our Auburndale Wrongful Death Lawyers To Help You With Your Claim
Our lawyers are qualified and experienced in wrongful death cases. Given the many laws that surround these cases, hiring a personal injury lawyer in Auburndale from our team ensures that you are not overwhelmed with your case. What’s more, we guarantee quality representation in court for better chances of recovering damages.
By hiring one of our Auburndale wrongful death attorneys, you can understand the value of your claim better. This way, you get an idea of the type of compensation to expect and the value of the benefits that may be awarded.
We understand the grieve that comes with losing a loved one. As such, we strive to offer the best legal representation to ensure that you get the right value in compensation. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free initial consultation.