Have you lost a loved one because of someone’s negligent or wrongful actions or inaction? If so, a Land O’ Lakes wrongful death lawyer can help you hold the person at fault liable and obtain compensation. While it can’t make up for your tragic loss, filing a lawsuit for damages like lost income and medical bills can ease the financial burden that a wrongful death puts on you and your family. A wrongful death attorney understands the legal processes and will help you save time and resources compared to doing it yourself.
If you’re looking for a reputable wrongful death lawyer in Land O’ Lakes, Florida, you’re in the right place. The personal injury lawyers at Winters & Yonker have over 50 years of combined legal experience and will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
Florida has a published statute that defines wrongful death in the state. The Wrongful Death Act of Florida says that an individual can file a lawsuit against the party liable when death is caused by wrongful acts such as negligence, default, and/or breach of contract or warranty. These include the following:
- Negligent acts like causing a crash by driving drunk
- Intentional actions like an assault that results in death
- Breach of warranty such as product defects
- Having a duty towards a person and then breaching that duty
There are many circumstances that could lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. The following are some of the most common reasons for filing wrongful death claims in the state of Florida:
- All forms of accidents involving planes, cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicycles, and trains
- Criminal behavior that results in murder
- Death during a supervised activity
- Medical malpractice
- Exposure to harmful conditions or substances as part of a person’s occupation
Who Is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The wrongful death law in Florida requires that a person who represents the estate of the deceased to file the claim. This representative may be named in the estate plan or in the will of the deceased. When the deceased doesn’t have a will or an estate plan, the representative will be named by a court of law. The personal representative should ideally list any survivors who had an interest in the wrongful death case. The kids, spouse, parents, siblings, or blood relative of the deceased who is wholly or partly dependent on the deceased for support can pursue and recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
If a loved one loses their lives because of an auto accident, workplace accident, medical malpractice, the use of a defective product, or any other similar events, you have legal rights to pursue compensation. You can pursue compensation from the person or entity responsible for causing the wrongful death of your loved one. Essentially, you should file a wrongful death claim after consulting with an experienced and qualified wrongful death attorney in Land O Lakes Florida.
The Wrongful Death Act allows the survivors to recover two major forms of damages, such as the damages awarded to the beneficiaries of the deceased for the medical expenses, their emotional losses, funeral expenses, along with the loss of net accumulations. Under Florida Law, the survivors are the deceased person’s kids, spouse, and any other dependent such as a blood relative, or an adopted sister or brother. The net accumulations represent the loss of savings that the deceased should have accumulated in case the wrongful death case hadn’t occurred.
The survivors of the deceased are entitled under the law in order to recover the loss of services and support, mental suffering and anguish, loss of protection, and any other funeral or medical costs that are paid on behalf of the deceased.
Damages Available to the Deceased’s Estate
The estate of the deceased can recover damages for the lost earning, loss of net accumulations, and funeral and medical expenses. The loss of net accumulations or income capacity mainly relies on the determination of what the deceased would have left behind in the estate hadn’t his/her life ended prematurely.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case in FL?
In Florida, the plaintiff in a wrongful death case should essentially demonstrate four basic elements to win the case and get the maximum compensation possible for their loss.
Duty of Care
The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased. For instance, in a car accident case, the driver has a responsibility to drive carefully whenever they’re behind the wheel and obey all the traffic rules.
Breach of Duty of Care
After demonstrating that the duty of care exists, the plaintiff should then prove that the defendant actually breached this duty of care. In the example above, the driver might have been driving while drunk or speeding when breaching this duty of care.
The plaintiff has to prove the death resulted directly from the defendant’s actions and not other causes. For instance, if the driver was drunk at the time of the accident, they won’t be necessarily responsible for the wrongful death in case a mechanical problem of the car caused death. In case a defective part of the vehicle caused the accident, the part manufacturer may be held liable.
Lastly, the plaintiff also has to prove that he/she suffered damages because of the wrongful death, such as funeral expenses, medical bills, and emotional trauma.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim In Florida?
The statute of limitations in Florida regarding wrongful death gives the plaintiff two years to file a wrongful death claim from the time of the death. In case the claim was caused by medical malpractice, there’s usually a time period allowed for the case to be investigated. However, a notice of intent should be filed to the potential defendant before filing an official medical malpractice claim.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a bit more complex and typically starts with the designation of a personal representative of the deceased or the estate. This is why you should work with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Land O’ Lakes when filing such a claim.
File Your Claim With Our Land O’ Lakes Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you’ve lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you should get the best wrongful death attorney you can find in Land O’ Lakes to handle your case. The lawyer will understand the Florida legal processes and help you save time and money. Contact our wrongful death lawyers at Winters & Yonker today for a free consultation.