A wrongful death case is a type of civil lawsuit that is brought to court whenever a negligent act of one party that results in another person’s death. In those cases, the plaintiffs are the deceased party’s survivors, usually a minor child or spouse. A wrongful death case may arise from defective products, workers’ compensation, car accidents, or medical malpractices.
This type of case can be complex and dealing with the state laws that surround these cases, including eligibility laws and the statute of limitations, means that it is a good idea to get a qualified and experienced East Lake-Orient Park wrongful death lawyer to help you develop a strong claim and ensure compensation for your loved one’s wrongful death. Contact the personal injury firm of Winters & Yonker today so that we can connect you with one of our skilled wrongful death attorneys to increase the chances to win your case.
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How Does the State of Florida Define Wrongful Death?
According to the Wrongful Death Act in Florida, an individual can file a lawsuit against another party who is held liable for the death of their loved one that is caused by any breach of warranty or contract, negligence, default, or wrongful act. Wrongful death, therefore, includes a brach of warranty or contract, negligent acts, and intentional acts. Some of the legal grounds in Florida for a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Mislabeled or defective products – These are wrongful deaths that are caused by using defective, mislabeled, or harmful products like medical devices, electronics, appliances, or drugs that might result in a product liability claim
- Construction and engineering malpractices that can cause workplace hazards
- Medical malpractice – Surgical errors, wrong prescriptions, and misdiagnosis which might be grounds for a wrongful death claim in the state of Florida
- Improper alcohol service, like when a bartender continues serving alcohol to a person who is intoxicated
- Sanitation problems, like contaminated food within a commercial establishment
- Fatal pedestrian accidents
- Car accidents caused by driving under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
- Criminal acts, which include intentional homicides
Who is Qualified in Florida to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim in the state of Florida may be filed by the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate, who is appointed in the deceased individual’s estate plan or will. In situations where no estate plan or will exists, a personal representative is appointed by the court, who will then file the claim on the behalf of the surviving family members or estate. For those claims, the personal representative is required to indicate each survivor who has an interest in the case.
Under the Wrongful Death Act in Florida, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the following parties:
- The deceased person’s parent, child, or spouse.
- An adoptive sibling or dependent blood relative, who is wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person for support.
- An out-of-wedlock child, if it can be established that the parent assumed responsibility for supporting the child.
What Kinds of Damages Can Be Recovered?
Liability in wrongful death claims, liability is expressed completely in money damage terms. Section 768.21 of the Florida Statutes details the rules of the state for awarding damages in these types of lawsuits. Often damages are divided into two parts, those that can be recovered by the deceased’s survivors and the estate.
Survivors may recover damages for the following:
- Funeral and medical expenses paid by the survivors of the deceased
- Loss of guidance, protection, and companionship that the deceased person had provided
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering that follows the loss of a parent or child
- Value of services and support that the deceased person provided
The estate of the deceased person can recover damages for the following:
- Funeral and medical expenses that the estate has paid directly
- The value of earnings or lost net accumulations that the estate could reasonably have expected to receive from the deceased individual
- Lost wages and other types of earnings, including those earnings that reasonably could have been expected to be earned by the deceased
How to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
In the state of Florida, the following are the pillars that help to prove negligence in wrongful death cases:
The court must be shown by the plaintiff that a duty of care was owed by the defendant to the decedent in the specific circumstances.
The plaintiff is also required to show how the duty of care was breached or violated by the defendant. It can be proven through specific inaction or action, or by showing the way that a reasonable person would act in that same situation.
The plaintiff also needs to prove that the actions of the defendant resulted in the death of the decedent and not any other causes.
It also is critical to prove that the wrongful death caused losses, for example, funeral expenses, medical bills, and emotional trauma.
How Is a Wrongful Death Claim Started in Florida?
Under Florida law, the decedent’s personal representative is required to file a wrongful death claim within a two year period that starts on the person’s date of death. Although finding an attorney following the loss of a loved one might not be a top priority, hiring an experienced and skillful wrongful death lawyer can significantly increase the chances of legal recovery.
Lawyers specializing in wrongful death claims thoroughly understand the legal process. Therefore, they can help to build a very strong case for you and against the at-fault party. Having an attorney will also ensure that you meet all of the strict deadlines and include all of the specific documents that might be required as part of the claim filing process.
Get Assistance From Our East Lake-Orient Park Wrongful Death Lawyers
Our attorneys at Winters & Yonker are experienced and qualified to handle wrongful death cases. These cases have many laws surrounding them. Therefore, hiring an attorney from our team will ensure that your case does not overwhelm you. We also guarantee to provide you with quality legal representation in court to increase your chances of recovering the appropriate damages.
When you hire one of our wrongful death attorneys in East Lake-Orient Park, you will better understand the total value of your claim. It will give you a better idea of the kind of compensation that you can expect to receive and the total value of the benefits that might be awarded.
We know that losing a loved one comes with a great deal of grief. That is why our goal is to offer the finest legal representation in order to ensure that you receive the right amount of compensation. Contact us today to get your free initial consultation scheduled.