The loss of a family member through someone else’s negligence is a painful experience that may bring financial hardships. During this devastating time, you should be able to mourn instead of worrying about the financial burden that awaits you. For this reason, you should get in touch with an experienced Seminole wrongful death lawyer to guide you through the process of recovering damages.
Wrongful death cases in Florida are complex and require a significant amount of resources. At Winters & Yonker, we have the resources and experience to pursue your wrongful death claim aggressively. We have helped thousands with their personal injury claims in Seminole and all over Florida, and we would be honored to take on your case too! Call our office at (888) 373-7770 to talk with a wrongful death lawyer for a free case evaluation.
Florida Wrongful Death Act states that someone can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party when the death is caused by a wrongful act, default, negligence, breach of warranty or breach of contract. By definition, wrongful deaths include:
- Intentional actions
- Negligent actions
- Having a duty of care and breaching it
- Breach of contract & warranty
Who Is Qualified to Make Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Florida’s wrongful death laws require the deceased person’s estate personal representative to file a wrongful death claim. The deceased person names the personal representative in his/her estate plan or will. If the deceased person failed to mention a personal representative in their will or if there is no will/estate plan, the court will appoint a personal representative to the estate.
The personal representative files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person’s beneficiaries (surviving family members). Every surviving family member interested in the case must be included in the wrongful death claim by the personal representative.
Family members who may qualify to recover damages in a Florida wrongful death claim include:
- Any living spouse
- Children below 25 years
- Any adult children if there is no living spouse
- Parents of a deceased minor
- Each parent of an adult child, if no other survivors exist
- Blood relatives or adoptive children who partly depended on the deceased when they were alive.
In the case of a child born to unmarried parents, he/she can obtain compensation in a wrongful death claim if his/her mother dies. The child can also recover damages if the father died and had formally recognized them as his own and was obligated to contribute to his/her support.
What Type Of Damages Are Obtainable For A Wrongful Death Claim In Florida?
Compensation for surviving family members is typically centered around the individual losses they suffered due to the demise of their loved one. On top of medical, travel, and funeral expenses, they may also recover various forms of support and lost services depending on the relationship they had with the decedent.
In a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, surviving family members may receive the following types of damages:
- loss of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member
- loss of companionship, protection, instruction, guidance, and protection that the decedent provided
- mental and emotional pain and suffering, and
- any medical or funeral expenses incurred by a surviving family member
The estate of the decedent may also recover specific types of damages. These include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the decedent had potentially have made if he/she did not die
- The estate’s lost prospective net accumulations
- medical and funeral expenses that the estate incurred directly
In addition to compensatory damages, a Florida court may also award punitive damages to the beneficiaries to punish and discourage the at-fault party from similar actions in the future. However, for punitive damages to be awarded, it must be shown that the at-fault party’s actions were intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent.
If you have been listed as a beneficiary in a wrongful death claim, our lawyers in Seminole, Florida, could help you receive compensation for your economic and non-economic losses.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
For a wrongful death claim to hold any water, these four elements of negligence must be present.
- The defendant was obligated to a duty of care to the deceased. Duty of care is the legal obligation to ensure the well-being or safety of others.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party in the wrongful death claim breached their duty of care, causing the deceased’s death.
- Damages: There must be sufficient proof that the at-fault party’s actions that lead to the decedent’s death caused you or your family damages.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s actions were directly responsible for the death of the deceased. It must be evident that the deceased’s death was caused by a breach of duty of care.
A Seminole wrongful death attorney from Winters & Yonker can show and provide sufficient evidence to prove that negligence and deliberate actions in these four elements caused the deceased’s death.
How Can You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Seminole, FL?
Below are the steps to take to start a wrongful death claim:
- Find out if you are eligible – First, you must determine if you qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Figure out if a wrongful death lawsuit is applicable in your situation. Some situations don’t warrant a wrongful death claim.
- Prove negligence or intent – Before you begin the lawsuit process find out if you will be able to prove the defendant acted intentionally or out of negligence.
- Document the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s death.
- Get the names and contact information of all the witnesses, including medical staff.
- Preserve and organize all the available evidence, including photos, videos, medical records, etc., if possible.
- Consult with a Seminole wrongful death attorney at Winters and Yonker.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and A Survivor’s Claim?
A wrongful death claim revolves around the deceased’s family and allows the estate’s personal representative or close family members to file a civil claim for damages.
A Survivor’s claim, on the other hand, revolves around the decedent’s suffering rather than the family’s grief and financial losses. In a survivor’s claim, survivors or beneficiaries can recover damages associated with the victim’s pain and suffering and the decedent’s medical bills, and lost wages–similar to what the deceased person could have recovered in a personal injury claim had they survived. Instead of the settlement being distributed directly to surviving family members, it is dispersed through the decedent’s estate.
Contact Our Seminole Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence or wrongful actions, it is natural to want to hold the responsible party accountable. We at Winters & Yonker are here to help your family in this difficult time. Our Seminole personal injury law firm has the experience and resources to aggressively represent you and demand compensation from the at-fault party. Call our office at (888) 373-7770 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free case evaluation and consultation.