Legal action might not seem like a top priority for a family that just lost their loved one, but it is very important. The family is left to cope with the grief, but they are also worried about their lives after losing a loved one. There might have been medical bills that the family had to pay or still owe. The family has to deal with the absence of financial support they were getting from the loved one.
If you are looking for a Longboat Key wrongful death lawyer, Winters & Yonkers has professional, experienced attorneys who are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. They understand what it takes to file a wrongful death lawsuit, so you do not have to handle things by yourself and can save time and money. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Winters & Yonker to schedule a free consultation and let us review your wrongful death case.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
According to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, individuals can file a suit against the party responsible if the death of a loved one was caused by a wrongful act, negligence, breach of warranty or contract, or default. This includes:
- Breach of warranty; mostly applies to product defects
- Negligent acts like causing a car crash by speeding
- Intentional acts like a crime that leads to homicide
A majority of circumstances could actually lead to a wrongful death suit. Here is a list of some of the most common reasons why people file wrongful death claims in the state of Florida:
- Medical malpractice
- All kinds of accidents including car, truck, plane, bicycle, pedestrian, and train accidents
- Criminal behaviors that lead to murder
- Exposure to hazardous conditions or substances as a part of an occupation
- Death during supervised activities
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida State?
According to Florida’s wrongful death law, only personal representatives of the deceased people’s estate can file a claim. It is worth noting that for anyone to be considered a representative, their name should be listed in the deceased’s will or estate plan. However, in the event the deceased does not have a will or estate plan, the court reserves the right to name a representative. This newly-appointed representative is then tasked with the responsibility of listing survivors of the deceased that have an interest in the case. The deceased’s kids, spouse, parents, siblings, and blood relatives that were wholly or partially dependent on the deceased for support are eligible for compensation through a wrongful death case in the State.
What Damages Can One Recover Through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
If someone you loved just passed away due to medical malpractice, an automobile accident, using a defective product, a workplace accident, or any other type of traumatic event, you reserve the right to file for wrongful death. This means that you can seek to have the responsible party compensate you for the untimely death. For a better shot at filing a successful claim, you should seek the help of an experienced and qualified wrongful death attorney in Longboat Key, Florida.
The Wrongful Death Act in Florida allows for the recovery of two main types of damages:
Damages Available to Survivors
The deceased’s survivors are, under the law, entitled to recover the loss of services and support, mental suffering and anguish, loss of protection, and any funeral or medical costs paid on the deceased’s behalf.
Florida’s wrongful death law defines survivors as the deceased’s kids, spouse, parents, siblings, or any other person that was dependent on the deceased such as an adoptive sister/brother or a blood relative.
Damages Available to the Estate
The estate of the deceased can recover some damages for lost earnings, loss of net accumulation, funeral expenses, and medical costs. Net accumulation or loss of income capacity relies on the estimation of what the deceased could have left in their estate if they had not died prematurely.
How’s Negligence Proved in Wrongful Death Cases?
The plaintiffs in Florida wrongful death cases must prove four basic things to win a case and receive compensation for their loss.
Duty of Care
The complainant must prove that the responsible party had a duty of care towards the deceased. For instance, in a car accident case, the person operating a vehicle has a responsibility to ensure they drive with other road users in mind while adhering to the rules of the road.
Breach of Duty of Care
Once the complainant has proven that duty of care exists, the next thing they need to prove is that the responsible party breached their duty of care. In the example given above, the driver might have been operating the vehicle while under the influence or was speeding when they breached their duty of care.
The complainant should prove that the death of their loved one was a result of the responsible party’s actions. For instance, even if the responsible party was speeding when the accident occurred, they are not responsible for the death if a mechanical issue caused the accident. If the deceased’s untimely demise was the result of a defective vehicle part, the maker of that part could be held responsible for their death.
Lastly, the complainant should demonstrate that they incurred losses because of the wrongful death, such as funeral expenses, loss of income, and emotional suffering.
What’s the Process of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in the State of Florida?
The statute of limitations in Florida regarding wrongful deaths gives plaintiffs two years from the day of their loved one’s demise to file a claim. If the claim is as a result of medical malpractice, a period has to be set for the matter to be investigated appropriately. It is worth noting that a notice of intent must be sent to potential defendants first before any medical malpractice can be filed.
Wrongful death lawsuits are quite complex and typically commence with the designation of the deceased’s estate’s personal representative. This is why you are advised to hire the services of an experienced and qualified Longboat Key wrongful death attorney and have them file your wrongful death claim in Florida.
Contact Our Longboat Key Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you’ve lost someone you loved dearly due to the negligent action of another person, consider working with a professional wrongful death attorney for improved chances of success. Wrongful death lawyers have a good understanding of the legal processes involved in filing a wrongful death claim. By working hand in hand with an attorney, you will get to enjoy peace of mind while saving on both time and money. Call Winters & Yonker today and speak to one of our qualified Longboat Key wrongful death lawyers for more on how we can help you seek reprieve for your loss.