The unexpected and sudden death of someone you loved or cared for can be a traumatic experience with lasting implications. Wrongful death is when an individual loses their life as a result of another person’s, company’s, or manufacturer’s wrongful actions, negligence, or inaction during a crisis. Wrongful deaths tend to leave the families of the deceased struggling both emotionally and financially.
When a provider or primary caregiver dies, those who were dependent on them are left robbed of their care, guidance, comfort, love, and support. And while no amount of money can compensate for the loss of life, receiving compensation through civil action can help lessen the deceased’s loved ones’ financial burden.
Odessa wrongful death lawyers at Winters & Yonker can help you file a claim against the responsible party. They will do everything possible to ensure you are well compensated for your loss. Call us today to schedule a free meeting with our personal injury attorneys.
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How’s Wrongful Death Defined in Florida?
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act states that the deceased’s personal representative may file a lawsuit or claim against another person or entity when death is caused by any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” This definition includes negligent acts (such as causing a fatal car accident through reckless driving), breach of warranty and contract (like product defects), and intentional acts (such as a robbery or assault that results in death).
Who’s Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In Florida, only the deceased’s personal representative is qualified to file a wrongful death claim – that could be anyone, as long as their name is listed in the deceased’s will or estate plan. However, if the decedent left no will or estate plan, the court will appoint one for the family.
While these claims are filed by the decedent’s representative, they’re also filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate and any of their surviving loved ones. When filing a wrongful death, the person listed by the deceased to act as a representative must ensure they list everyone with interests in the claim.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
Section 768.21 of Florida’s State Laws stipulates the damages that a deceased’s estate or family members can recover through a wrongful death claim. They include:
- The medical and funeral expenses paid for by the deceased’s family
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the decedent while they were alive
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering experienced by family members due to the loss of their loved one
- The value of support and services the deceased provided to the family
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings – including the value of lost earnings – that the deceased could have, within rational boundaries, made if they had continued to live.
How is Negligence Proved in Wrongful Death Claims?
When pursuing a wrongful death claim, you’ll be required to prove the demise of your loved one was caused by the careless, negligent, or reckless actions of the responsible party.
For your claim to be considered, there are four key elements that you will have to prove. These are:
- Duty: You must prove that the respondent owed the departed a duty of care.
- Breach: You must prove that the respondent violated/breached their duty of care through negligence, action, or inaction.
- Causation: You must prove that the death of your loved one resulted from the defendant’s actions and not from any other cause.
- Damage: You must prove that it is the defendant’s breach of duty that led to the sudden demise of your loved one bringing about costs such as hospitalization, medical expenses, loss of protection, loss of income, loss of potential earnings, burial costs, etc.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Filing a wrongful death claim in Florida can be complicated, which is why you should have a skilled and professional wrongful death attorney handle the claim for you. For reliable and professional legal representation, get in touch with us at Winters & Yonker and let us help you seek justice for your loved one.
The process of filing a wrongful death claim starts with collecting evidence that helps give your case merit. An attorney could make this easier for you as they have the skills and experience required to accomplish the task. Once your attorney has enough evidence to support your case, they can then go ahead and alert the defendant that they have a case filed against them before filing the suit in a court of law.
Once the lawsuit has been filed, the discovery process (which is where you and the other party request info from either side to aid in the preparation of the case) follows. After the discovery process, a trial date for your case to be heard is then set. Please note that how long a wrongful death case lasts varies depending on 1) the complexity of your case, and 2) the availability of a jury and judge.
What is the Difference Between Estate Claims and Wrongful Death Claims?
While both estate claims and wrongful death claims arise from one event – the wrongful, often sudden, death of an individual – two things separate them; these are the person who files the claim and the damages included.
When a person loses their life as a result of the negligent, criminal, or reckless actions of another person, their personal representative can sue the responsible party for their death to recover compensation for the family.
In estate claims, the decedent’s estate tries to recover expenses, such as funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, and, in some instances, the pain and suffering the person experienced before their demise.
Call the Odessa Wrongful Death Lawyers at Winters & Yonker
Losing a loved one can be traumatic and can have lasting implications on your livelihood. And while no amount of money can compensate for life, getting monetary compensation can help provide you and your family some relief and financial stability. However, seeking damages through a wrongful death claim can be a long and difficult process.
It is best to hire a professional wrongful death attorney and have them handle things for you during this trying time. At Winters & Yonker, we understand your suffering and are here to help ensure that you are well compensated for your loss. Give us a call at (888) 373-7770 to set up a no-obligation, cost-free consultation with our capable team.