An experienced Sun City Center wrongful death lawyer at Winters and Yonker is always ready to stand by your side, answer your questions, and fight for your rights. Our full-service law firm in Sun City Center is ready to investigate the circumstances surrounding the demise of your loved one, and we’ll work diligently to make sure that you receive the full compensation you deserve for your loss. Call us today at [phone] to speak with one of our wrongful death lawyers today.
The sudden death of a loved one can be a very difficult ordeal to handle. When an unexpected accident happens and it leads to the avoidable death of a loved one, it can be devastating to those left behind, especially because the loss of life was unexpected and preventable. The beneficiaries and family members of the victim might have many concerns and questions about the death of their loved one and its impact on their future.
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How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
In Florida, wrongful death is defined by a published statute. It says that someone can file a lawsuit against the responsible person when death is caused by a “wrongful act, default, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty”. As such, wrongful death encompasses intentional acts such hitting a person with an object with the intent to hit the head, negligent acts like hitting a person on the head by accident, or other criteria like having a duty and breaching it, or breaching a contract and warranty, like with product defects.
For instance, if your loved one was injured in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, they would likely sue the driver at fault for the damages. The same concept applies to wrongful death. If your loved one succumbed to their injuries, the driver at fault can still be sued for damages. The difference is that this time, their personal representative would be responsible for bringing the lawsuit on behalf of the living family members.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
A personal representative of the deceased’s estate should be present in court to initiate the official complaint. This representative should be named in the estate plan of the deceased or should be someone the court has appointed. The personal representative will file the claim on behalf of all the members of the family who lost their loved one.
The representative is required to list all the surviving family members who have an interest in the lawsuit. These often include:
- The spouse of the deceased
- The children left behind
- The parent of the deceased
- Other relatives who depended on the deceased for financial support (only eligible after the primary beneficiaries have a chance to file a claim)
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
According to Florida Law, the surviving family members are entitled to compensation for:
- The loss of support and services that the deceased provided
- Emotional pain, suffering, and anguish
- Loss of consortium, guidance, and companionship
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
The deceased estate can also seek additional compensation for the lost wages and other income including the lost earning capacity of the decedent – the income they would have reasonably been expected to earn before reaching their age of retirement.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
In wrongful death claims, you need to prove that the death of your loved one was caused either in whole or by part by the recklessness, carelessness, or negligent actions of the defendant. The following elements of negligence must be present:
The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care in the circumstances surrounding the death.
The plaintiff must show how the defendant violated or breached this duty of care. This may be through specific actions or inaction when another reasonable person would most likely have acted more appropriately in the same situation.
Next, you must who that the defendant’s breach of duty directly led to the demise of the victim in question.
You must also prove that the death directly resulted from the actions of the defendant, and not from other causes.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the death, based on the state’s statute of limitations. The deadline can be postponed under very specific circumstances. However, an experienced Sun City Center wrongful death lawyer can help you determine how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
When bringing a wrongful death, we recommend following these steps:
Find Out if You Have a Case First
If you establish that the negligent behavior of a person or entity contributed to the demise of a loved one, you may have legal grounds to file a claim.
Collect and Preserve Evidence
To prevent the defendant from filing motions meant to dismiss your case, you need to have compelling evidence to show how their actions were negligent and how they led to the accident and the death of your loved one.
Prepare a Formal Complaint
The complaint should ideally contain the identity of the defendant, the amount of compensation you’re seeking, and the key elements surrounding your case.
Officially File the Complaint
You should do this in accordance with the Florida court rules.
Generally speaking, these steps can be quite difficult to undertake on your own, especially following the death of a loved one. An experienced Sun City Center wrongful death lawyer can help you establish whether you have a case, explain to you what to expect with the claims process, and work to protect your rights and get you and your family the justice you deserve.
Get an Experienced Sun City Center Wrongful Death Lawyer on Your Side
If your family has lost a loved one in a preventable accident or through the negligent actions of someone else, you deserve justice and compensation for the loss you suffered. It’s always wise to work with an experienced attorney, who can help you build a case around the available evidence.
At Winters and Yonker, our Sun City Center injury lawyers always keep a close relationship with all of our clients throughout the entire process of the wrongful death case. We know that this might be an emotional time for you, and we always do our best to protect you from more emotional troubles that the justice system could bring.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can help with your case. We are ready to answer any questions or concerns you might have.