Losing a family member can be tragic, but it can be incredibly traumatizing if the death happened under avoidable circumstances. If someone else’s wrongful act or gross negligence caused the death of your loved one in an accident, you might be able to recover damages.
At Winters and Yonker, we help clients file wrongful death claims, negotiate settlements, and go to trial if worst comes to worst. Our Clermont wrongful death lawyers may be able to help you pursue compensation for your damages. Visit our offices or call our personal injury lawyers at (888) 373-7770 for a free no-risk consultation and case review with a representative of Winters and Yonker.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined In Florida?
According to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, the law allows surviving family members of the deceased person to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the death is due to any of the following reasons:
- Intentional/wrongful actions.
- Breach of contract & warranty.
Who Is Eligible To File A Wrongful Death Claim In Florida?
A wrongful death claim is filed by the deceased person’s estate representative. This representative must have been mentioned in the decedent’s estate plan or will. If the estate plan doesn’t specify a personal representative, the court will appoint one to file the lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members.
The personal representative to the estate should then come up with a list of the family interested in the claim. The list may include:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- Parents of the deceased
- Blood relatives or adoptive children who partially depended on the deceased when they were alive
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
In Florida, surviving family members can recover compensatory damages. These types of damages revolve around the family members’ individual losses caused by their loved one’s passing. Compensatory damages also referred to as economic & non-economic damages, include:
- Loss of support and services
- Loss of companionship, protection, instruction, guidance, and protection
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering, and
The decedent’s estate may also recover compensatory damages. They include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the decedent have potentially made if he/she did not die.
- Loss of potential net accumulations
- Medical and funeral expenses that the estate incurred directly.
On top of compensatory damages, punitive damages may also be awarded to the beneficiaries. These types of damages are meant to punish and discourage the defendant from participating in the same wrongful or negligent actions in the future.
How is Negligence Proved In A Wrongful Death Case In Florida?
In a wrongful death case, proving negligence involves four elements. The party filing a wrongful death claim will have to provide sufficient evidence to prove each of the four elements to get a settlement package. The elements are:
Duty of Care
The plaintiff must show and prove to the court that the at-fault/responsible party or entity owed the decedent a duty of care in the situation that caused the death.
Breach of Duty
Next, the plaintiff must illustrate how the defendant violated their duty of care to the deceased person by proving that a person of reasonable wit would have acted appropriately in a similar situation.
The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the death of the deceased person.
The plaintiff must be able to show sufficient proof that the decedent’s death directly resulted from the at-fault party’s actions.
How Do You Start A Wrongful Death Claim In Florida?
When someone close to you dies from avoidable circumstances, you can file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation. The wrongful death claim process involves some specific steps. In Clermont, Florida, you don’t have to go through these steps alone. The wrongful death attorneys at Winters and Yonker can help you every step of the way. The steps include:
This means preparing for a lawsuit, and it’s the first step of a wrongful death claim. The representative of the decedent’s estate needs to accomplish the following set of tasks in preparation for the lawsuit:
Setting Up the Estate
If the estate files the suit, it must be set up in the deceased’s home county courthouse.
The survivors will then Launch an inquiry to probe the facts and circumstances leading up to the death through an attorney with experts’ help.
Determining and Notifying Responsible parties
Your lawyer will need to determine the at-fault parties and inform them about the intent to sue.
Negotiation & Settling
The at-fault party may want to try to settle the case out of court. If they offer a reasonable and fair settlement, it may be a good option because you will not need to worry about losing the lawsuit. If you don’t reach an agreement in this step, you will maintain your right to proceed with a wrongful death claim. Your attorney will do most of the negotiations and will only consult you on crucial decisions.
Filing the Suit
If negotiations hit a brick wall, it is time to sue for wrongful death. Your lawyer will help you begin the process by filing a complaint or writ of summons in the courthouse. The writ of summons will be served to all mentioned defendants.
This is the final step in a wrongful death lawsuit, and it involves a variety of tasks, including discovery, interrogations, submission of requested documents, etc. Additionally, the pre-trial, trial, and arbitration are conducted in this step. During litigation, negotiations can still continue, but the trial will continue to its completion if the parties don’t reach a consensus. Finally, the judge or jury will deliver a verdict that will determine the award to be assigned to the plaintiff, if any.
What is the Difference Between A Wrongful Death Claim And An Estate Claim In Florida?
After the death of a loved one through an individual’s negligent or wrongful actions, both the deceased’s estate and his/her family members can sue the at-fault party for damages.
The deceased person’s surviving family members bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation and punitive damages for the value of the decedent’s life.
On the other hand, an estate claim is brought by the deceased’s estate’s personal representative to seek compensation for the economic damages caused by the victim’s death.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Clermont Wrongful Death Lawyer
If another individual’s negligence partly or wholly caused the death of someone close to you, you do not have to go through the legal process of filing a wrongful death claim alone. The expert Clermont wrongful death attorneys at Winters and Yonker may be able to pursue compensation on your behalf to ease the financial and emotional burden on you and your family. We care, and we want to help.
To get a free case review with one of our attorneys, call our personal injury firm at (888) 373-7770 today.