Are you struggling with the sudden and unexpected loss of a family member after a fatal accident in St. Petersburg, Florida? Did you know that you could be entitled to compensation from those responsible for your grief and suffering? It’s true, and the St. Petersburg wrongful death lawyers at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers can help you work to maximize your financial award.
We’ve been fighting for grieving families in St. Petersburg and across the Sunshine State for more than two decades. Our award-winning Florida trial attorneys boast more than 119 years of combined experience and have won millions on behalf of deserving clients like you.
Put yourself in the position to get the financial victory (and justice) you need and deserve. Contact our St. Petersburg, FL law office or call us to arrange a free consultation today at (727) 314-5988.
How Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Fatal Accident in St. Petersburg, FL
Losing a family member is never easy. Losing them unexpectedly can make a difficult situation even worse. If their death could have been avoided and happened because someone else was negligent, you deserve to be compensated.
However, now’s the time to focus on your grief and path forward – not a fight for compensation. That’s where a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer can help.
We’re ready to step in and take on your wrongful death lawsuit so that you can spend this time remembering your family member, coming to terms with your loss, and figuring out how to move ahead.
Our top-rated litigators will take care of every aspect of your case; we’ll:
- Investigate the accident or intentional act that resulted in your loved one’s death
- Gather evidence that can be used to establish liability and win maximum compensation from those responsible
- Defend against allegations that your family member was at fault or shares blame for the accident
- Consult experts and specialists to ensure that we fully appreciate what your wrongful death case is worth
- Prepare and file necessary claims and documents on your behalf
- Handle settlement negotiations and represent you at hearings, if necessary
- Help you make important decisions regarding your case, including whether it might be best to accept a settlement or reject it and push forward for a potentially better result at trial
We’re tough and aggressive negotiators, and we’ll do everything in our power to get you a swift and favorable settlement offer. However, we are always prepared to bring cases to trial when settlement offers just don’t cut it.
Give our legal team in St. Petersburg a call to discuss your case. Your first consultation is free, and we work on contingency, so there’s no financial risk to get us in your corner. You only pay when we win your wrongful death case.
What Is Wrongful Death in Florida?
Under Florida Statute Section 768.19, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.”
In other words, a wrongful death is an avoidable death caused by another person’s negligence, intentionally harmful conduct, or criminal act.
Any type of trauma or accident can potentially result in wrongful death, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability matters
- Accidents involving defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Boating accidents
If the victim had survived their fatal injuries, they would have had the right to file a claim or lawsuit and seek damages from responsible parties. Since they can’t do this, the right shifts to someone else.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits can only be initiated by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
This person is either named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the court. Typically, it’s a family member or close friend.
The personal representative files the claim on behalf of the victim’s beneficiaries, including surviving:
- Anyone financially dependent on the victim
Note that the personal representative can also file a survival action on behalf of the estate, where the proceeds are distributed to beneficiaries according to the will and/or Florida estate law.
What Compensation Can Be Awarded To Plaintiffs in a Florida Wrongful Death Action?
When discussing damages, it’s important to distinguish between wrongful death lawsuits and survival actions.
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed on behalf of surviving beneficiaries and can seek damages for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses incurred prior to the victim’s death
- Loss of spousal companionship and protection
- Loss of parental companionship, guidance, and instruction
- Mental pain and suffering related to the loss of a parent, child, or spouse
- Loss of earnings and financial support
- Loss of household services and contributions
These damages are paid to compensate the family members for what they’re experiencing after a fatal accident.
Survival actions, on the other hand, are filed on behalf of the victim’s estate. These types of claims are only permitted if the victim survived their injuries for a period of time after their accident.
Damages permitted in a survival action, where damages are distributed to the victim’s estate, include:
- Pain and suffering experienced by the victim prior to death
- Lost profits and income that would have benefited the estate
- Medical bills
In limited cases, punitive damages might also be applicable. However, a Pinellas County jury would have to find that there’s clear and convincing evidence that the death was the result of the defendant’s intentional misconduct or gross negligence. While there aren’t caps on compensatory damages in Florida wrongful death cases, there is a limit on punitive awards.
How Does Shared Fault Affect Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Case?
Assume someone tries to say that your family member caused or contributed to the accident that took their life. What does that mean for your wrongful death case? Unfortunately, left unchallenged, these types of allegations can limit or prevent you from getting compensation for your loss.
Florida has a pure comparative fault rule, which provides that damages are reduced based on fault.
If your family member is assigned blame for their fatal accident in St. Petersburg, it will affect related wrongful death lawsuits. The damages in the lawsuit would be reduced in direct proportion to their role in the accident. If they’re 10 percent responsible, damages in the wrongful death claim would be reduced by 10 percent.
Your family member can’t defend themselves or tell their side of the story. However, our St. Petersburg wrongful death attorneys will be there to fight back against these allegations, preserve your loved one’s reputation, and work to limit the impact these victim-blaming tactics might have.
What’s the Deadline To File a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Florida has established a two-year statute of limitations for most wrongful death lawsuits.
This gives the personal representative of the victim’s estate half the amount of time that victims in other types of personal injury cases have to pursue compensation.
The statute of limitations does, however, only begin to run once your loved one has died. If your family member is in an accident in September but doesn’t die until December, the clock doesn’t start to tick until December.
You don’t want to let the statute of limitations expire before you assert your legal rights. Once time runs out, your family and the estate will lose the opportunity to recover much-needed and well-deserved compensation.
You can preserve your legal rights and increase the odds of a meaningful financial recovery by reaching out to our experienced St. Petersburg wrongful death attorneys right after your devastating loss. We can begin to put a plan into action as soon as you ask for our help.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Experienced St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Lawyers
Did you recently lose a close family member in a fatal accident in St. Petersburg, Florida? Are you unsure what steps you should take or what legal options you might have? Don’t try to figure things out on your own. Call Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers and let our St. Petersburg wrongful death lawyers guide you through this trying time.
Since 2001, we’ve been helping families pick up the pieces and demand financial justice after tragic, life-changing accidents. We fully appreciate that money will never turn back time or bring your family member back to you. However, it can help to offset the incredible financial burden that your loss might bring.
Contact our St. Petersburg, FL law office to discuss the specific details of your wrongful death case today. We are always here to provide the help you need – morning, noon, and night. Give us a call to arrange a time to speak with a member of our team today. Your initial case evaluation is always 100 percent free.
Our personal injury law firm in St. Petersburg, FL also provides:
- Bicycle Accident Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL
- Brain Injury Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL
- Car Accident Lawyers in St. Petersburg, FL
- Catastrophic Injury Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL
- Construction Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL
- Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in St. Petersburg, FL
- Truck Accident Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL
- Uber Accident Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL
- Workers’ Compensation Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL
- Workplace Accident Lawyers in St. Petersburg, FL
- Wrongful Death Attorneys in St. Petersburg, FL