Nothing can match the emotional devastation resulting from the loss of a loved one due to an accident caused by the negligence of someone else. Apart from the pain of unexpectedly losing a loved one, families may also have to deal with financial hardships as a consequence of the death, often through the loss of income and/or arising expenses. It is only fair that the culpable party is held accountable for their negligence and the affected parties get the justice that they deserve.
Even though one can’t simply put a monetary value on human life, financial compensation is the only practical remedy that can be provided. Having the proper financial support will help you and your family better cope with your new situation in the absence of your loved one.
During this time of grief, the last thing you might be thinking about is taking legal action. However, this will be integral in securing your financial future. Besides, it is your legal right. And with the right people on your side, sailing through the complex legal process will be much easier.
The skilled Kissimmee wrongful death lawyers at Winters and Yonker P.A. have years of experience helping families of wrongful death victims get the justice they deserve and secure their futures. We can do that for you too. Call us today at (888) 373-7770 to talk to one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.
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How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida
In reference to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, wrongful death is any death that occurs as a result of the negligence, wrongful acts, or breach of contract or warranty of another party.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
As provided by Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, all the survivors of the deceased victim have a right to compensation after a wrongful death. In this case, ‘survivors’ strictly refers to the spouse, children, parents, and any blood or adoptive siblings that depended on the decedent for support.
However, as per Florida Statutes 768.20, only a personal representative of the estate of the deceased can actually initiate and prosecute the claim.
The personal representative is usually named in the deceased’s will, but in cases where there is no will, the courts will appoint one.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
The types of damages recoverable in a wrongful death claim mainly depend on the beneficiaries.
Damages Available to Survivors in a Wrongful Death Claim
- All survivors are entitled to receiving compensation for the value of past and future loss of support and services
- The spouse can pursue compensation for loss of companionship and mental pain and suffering
- The parents of a minor child can be compensated for mental pain and suffering
- If there are no other survivors, the parents of an adult child can pursue compensation for mental pain and suffering.
- Survivors who helped pay for medical or funeral expenses can seek reimbursement.
Damages Available to the Estate in a Wrongful Death Claim
- The estate can seek compensation for medical and funeral expenses paid on behalf of the deceased.
- The deceased’s lost earnings from the date of injury to the date of death.
- Loss of the prospective net accumulations of the estate.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
Before filing a lawsuit, you will need to first determine whether you have a valid claim. You need to prove the presence of the following four elements of negligence:
- Duty: The plaintiff will need to prove to the court that the deceased victim was owed a duty of care by the defendant in the given situation.
- Breach: Next, the plaintiff must demonstrate how the defendant breached or violated this duty of care. A breach of duty of care happens when one does or fails to do something that another reasonable person in the same situation would have done or not done.
- Causation: The plaintiff must be able to prove that the death resulted from the defendant’s actions and not some other cause i.e, the negligence of the liable party directly caused the death of the victim.
- Damage: Finally, the plaintiff will need to prove that as a result of the death of the victim, the surviving family members suffered various damages.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Certain requirements must be achieved before initiating a wrongful death claim in Kissimmee, Florida. You will need to ensure that you meet the burden of proof. This means that you will need to have credible and high-quality evidence. Thus, it is important to work with an experienced attorney.
To begin the process, an estate must be opened on behalf of the deceased. Then a personal representative will be appointed to administer the estate. The personal representative will be the one to file a lawsuit against the responsible party on behalf of the survivors and the estate.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?
Typically, there are two types of claims that can be made by the family of a wrongful death victim:
Wrongful Death Claim
In basic terms, a wrongful death claim is usually filed to allow the estate of the deceased to collect damages for the beneficiaries of the deceased. The surviving family members seek compensation and punitive damages for the value of life of the decedent. The full value of a life is divided into two parts; economic and non-economic contributions.
On the other hand, an estate claim is brought by the estate of the deceased seeking compensation for financial costs associated with death, for example, medical and funeral expenses. In cases, where the decedent survived for some time before dying, the estate can pursue damages for pain and suffering.
Contact an Experienced Kissimmee Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a loved one is one of the most heartbreaking experiences. It is even more painful when it is caused by a preventable accident. In addition, the loss of a key member can turn a family upside down leaving them facing an uncertain future. However, an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you secure your financial future and lower the long-term blow of losing a loved one.
Losing a loved one, especially due to negligence, is a devastating and irreplaceable loss. At Winters and Yonkers, we have what it takes to secure maximum compensation for you and your family. If necessary we will take your case to court and aggressively fight for your rights. Get in touch with us today at (888) 373-7770 to learn how we can assist you.