Unexpectedly losing a loved one due to the negligent, intentional, or reckless acts of someone else is perhaps one of the most painful experiences one could go through. It could take the family a very long time to come to terms with such a loss, with some members being affected for the rest of their lives. Besides the immense grief caused by the sudden and preventable loss of their loved one, the family also has to deal with a lot of uncertainties regarding the impact of their loved one’s death on their future.
While there is nothing that can bring back your loved one, ensuring that you and your family regain financial stability after the death of a loved one who helped to support the family can help to ease the burden. Filing a wrongful death claim will help ensure that you receive compensation from the at-fault party for the injuries and losses caused. However, dealing with a wrongful death claim is often complex and can quickly leave you frustrated. This is why it is important to ensure that you seek the assistance of an experienced Winter Garden wrongful death lawyer.
Our highly-skilled and compassionate personal injury attorneys at Winters and Yonker are prepared to offer you all the necessary legal assistance during these trying times. We will fight aggressively to protect your rights and ensure that you and your family receive maximum compensation for your losses and consequences. Call us today at (888) 373-7770 to schedule your free consultation.
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How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
The definition of wrongful death is inferred in Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. This act states that a lawsuit can be filed against the at-fault party when a death occurs as a result of any wrongful act, negligence, or breach of contract or warranty. This means that wrongful death is any death caused by the negligence, wrongful act, or breach of contract or warranty of another party.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
In the state of Florida, to file a wrongful death claim, you need to have had a close relationship with the deceased, particularly one where you relied on them for support. In this case, the spouse has the first right, followed by the children of the deceased. In cases where there is no spouse or children, the parents of the deceased reserve the right to file a claim. In some cases, relatives who were at least partially dependent on the decedent may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
However, according to Florida Statutes 768.21, a wrongful death claim can only be brought by a personal representative of the estate on behalf of the beneficiaries. This is meant to avoid a situation where multiple claims are filed against the same defendant.
The personal representative of the estate is required to list the names of each person who has an interest in the claim.
The estate of the deceased can also file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased for financial damages resulting from the injuries and subsequent death of the deceased, for example, medical bills and funeral expenses.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable?
A wrongful death claim in Florida can potentially allow you to recover the following types of damages:
These types of damages cover the different types of financial losses suffered by the family as a result of the wrongful death of their loved one. These include medical and funeral expenses, loss of expected earnings, loss of benefits, etc.
These types of damages are designed to cover the surviving members for subjective, non-monetary losses. They include loss of love, loss of companionship, emotional stress, etc.
These types of damages are usually awarded in cases where serious or malicious wrongdoing of the defendant has been established. However, they are rarely awarded as proving the fact can be difficult.
If awarded, the state of Florida has capped punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater.
How is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
To have a basis for a wrongful death claim, you need to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. Thus, the following four elements of negligence must be proved:
Duty of care
The plaintiff must show the court that the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care in the given situation.
Breach of duty of care
Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached this duty of care. This could be by doing something or failing to do something when another reasonable person in the same situation would have acted appropriately.
The plaintiff must be able to prove that the death resulted from the defendant’s actions and not some other cause. This means that the death would not have occurred were it not for the defendant’s negligence.
The plaintiff must prove that due to the wrongful death of the deceased, the surviving members suffered various legally recognized losses.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Under Winter Garden, Florida law, before a wrongful death claim can be filed on behalf of the deceased beneficiaries, there are several things that need to be done:
First, an estate must be created on behalf of the deceased. Next, a personal representative of the estate should then be appointed to administer the estate. This representative should be named in the deceased person’s estate plan or appointed by the court.
A claim or lawsuit will then be filed against the party responsible for causing the deceased’s death on behalf of the estate by the personal representative of the estate.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a claim filed on behalf of the surviving family members for the loss of a loved one. It is based on the fact that the surviving family members have suffered a loss and should be compensated. Here, various damages are awarded to specific members.
On the other hand, an estate claim is brought on behalf of an estate in order to recover compensation that would have been owed to the decedent if they would have lived.
Get in Touch With a Knowledgeable Winter Garden Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have recently lost a loved one in a preventable accident or as a result of the misconduct of someone else, your life might have been turned upside down, and you might be going through a lot of grief and financial hardships. Dealing with the struggle of a wrongful death claim is the last thing you need right now.
Let our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Winters and Yonker handle your case for you and ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve. Get in touch with our personal injury firm at (888) 373-7770 to schedule your free consultation.