Losing a family member is one of the most terrible things that someone can experience. And on top of the grief, loved ones are often left with hefty funeral costs and medical bills that can become overwhelming.
If your family member experienced an unexpected and sudden death, then this could be particularly traumatic, especially if the death was avoidable. Sometimes, people behave negligently, and it puts innocent people in harm’s way. When this occurs, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive compensation for funeral expenses and any loss of income to a family household.
Common examples of wrongful death include medical malpractice, car accidents, and drowning.
If you suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in Clearwater or elsewhere in Florida, then contact us at The Law Place speak to a Clearwater wrongful death attorney. Our law firm will be able to offer you a free consultation where we can offer free, unbiased, and honest advice when you need it most. Our phone lines are open 24/7, so call us now on (941) 444-4444.
What Is a Wrongful Death Case in Clearwater, FL?
According to the Legal Information Institute, wrongful death is defined as:
“A death caused by the wrongful act of another, either accidentally or intentionally.”
A wrongful death claim can then be made by a family member of the deceased person in order to compensate them for any funeral expenses, loss of earnings, and emotional anguish.
Common examples include:
- Assault and battery.
- Negligence, such as reckless driving.
- Medical malpractice.
- Accidental death as a result of another crime, such as a robbery.
The deceased must be a family member in order to make a wrongful death claim. If your loved one has died because of a wrongful act, then you might be able to obtain compensation.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act is laid out in Florida Statute Chapter 768. If you are unsure as to whether you have a valid claim, then contact a Clearwater wrongful death attorney at The Law Place. In your free consultation, we will help to determine whether you have a strong case and will offer some advice as to what your next steps should be.
Your Legal Rights in Clearwater, FL
Under Florida law, wrongful death is a result of someone behaving carelessly or negligently. You may be able to hold an individual, a company, or a government body responsible depending on the circumstances of your case. A Clearwater wrongful death claim will enable you to seek compensation for things such as:
- Medical bills – You should be entitled to any medical expenses that occurred due to the incident.
- Funeral expenses – Funerals are expensive, and following a wrongful death, the burden should not be held with the family.
- Lost wages – If the deceased brought income into your household, then you may be entitled to compensation for their lost wages and lost earning potential.
- Lost companionship – You can also claim for your emotional suffering, this is difficult to quantify, but a wrongful death attorney will know how to fight for your right to compensation for your loss.
- Future therapy costs – If you decide to have grief counseling, then you should be compensated for this.
No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one. However, financial compensation can take away some of the burdens you are suffering. It may also allow you to feel that some kind of justice has been served for the reckless actions of someone, that will affect your life forever.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute
Florida Statute 768.21 outlines how surviving family members can secure compensation in a wrongful death claim. The law states that the family members of the deceased,
“may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value.”
Florida law can be difficult to interpret, but what this means is that if you have lost a family member because of wrongful death, then you deserve compensation. That compensation should match the financial and emotional hardship from when they sustained any injuries, up until their death, and beyond.
How Classifies as a Wrongful Death?
In order to a successful wrongful death claim following the death of a loved one, your attorney will look to prove that:
- The death was a direct result of the negligence of another person or entity.
- The family member of the deceased must be suffering financial loss as a result of the death.
Death and the relationship to the deceased are easy to prove, however proving negligence can become more complicated, and you may need a wrongful death attorney to evaluate your case.
In order to prove negligence, three things must be demonstrated:
- There was a legal duty owed to the deceased.
- The duty of care was breached.
- The death was a direct result of the breach.
In a standard negligence claim, the defendant would need to show that the breach of duty directly caused their injury and, therefore, their damages. However, in a wrongful death lawsuit, it is the family members who will need to prove that they are suffering financial loss as a result.
What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do for You?
After you call us for a free consultation, if we believe you have a valid case in Florida, then we will arrange an in-depth meeting. We understand how sensitive these matters can be, so you will receive help from an experienced attorney who wants to fight for you.
In this meeting, you can ask any questions that you have. We will also explain our fee structure. We work on a contingency basis, which is monitored by the State Bar Associations. This means that our pay is taken from your eventual settlement. In the vast majority of cases, people who have an attorney are not only more likely to receive compensation; the compensation they do receive is usually higher.
If you agree to work with us, then you will be assigned an attorney who will become your advocate. They will determine what your case is worth and what kinds of damages you can fight for. They will work to gather evidence and liaise with any parties that might be involved.
The wrongful death of a loved one is one of the worse things someone can experience. By allowing us to take the reigns, you and your family have more time to focus on your recovery without the stress of dealing with a legal battle on your own. If you are going against a government agency or big business, then they will have legal teams ready to fight. It is important that you level the playing field with an experienced Florida attorney, such as those found at The Law Place.
What Relationship Do I Need to Have to The Deceased?
In order to be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one in Clearwater, then you must fall into one of the following categories:
- A parent suffering the loss of a young child.
- A parent suffering the loss of their adult child, where that child has no other close family members such as their own children or a spouse.
- A minor child who has lost their parent and financial provider.
- An adult child suing for the loss of their parent, where the deceased has no minor children or living spouse.
- An adult who has lost their spouse.
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Claim Worth in Florida?
Following a wrongful death in Florida, the amount you could receive varies widely. It will be based on factors such as:
- Your relationship with the deceased.
- The value of the deceased income.
- The value of the deceased to the survivor, which refers to the degree of emotional distress and financial loss.
The average wrongful death settlement in Florida is around $500,000, but it can be much higher. If your case goes to court, then it could have a big impact. In order to determine how much your case could be worth, speak to a wrongful death attorney at The Law Place today.
Does a Fatal Car Accident Constitute Wrongful Death?
Absolutely. Negligent or reckless driving is one of the most common causes of wrongful death in Florida and across the United States. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), In 2019, there were 3,217 fatalities as a result of car accidents in Florida. Most of these accidents are avoidable.
When anyone operates a vehicle in the United States, they have a presumed duty of care to those around them. This means that they are required to take reasonable measures to keep people safe. Therefore, when people behave negligently, such as ignoring the rules of the road or driving under the influence, and this leads to an accident, they can be found liable for any damages that result.
What to Do After the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
In the wake of the death of a loved one, the legal consequences might be the last thing on your mind. However, you deserve financial compensation. The best thing you can do is contact a reputable law firm like The Law Place for a free consultation so you can be confident in your next steps.
One of the first priorities is to establish a personal representative of your loved one’s estate, so that your family can take control, as opposed to leaving matters up to a judge. The laws concerning your loved one’s estate in Florida, as laid out in Florida Statute Chapter 733, are complex, but your attorney can help you through the process, which will depend upon your specific circumstances.
If your family member did not have a will, then you will have to go through the court process in order to determine how their assets will be divided. State law ensures that the deceased’s spouse and children have certain rights to their assets. A lawyer will act as impartial support, to help you to do this fairly, while avoiding the stress and arguments that often result from someone’s death.
There are intricacies of Florida law that may catch you off-guard. If you are unprepared, you could devalue your case or have it dismissed. One example of this is when the family members of a massage therapist fought for compensation and were denied because the law states that
only a minor child or a spouse can file a suit in cases of medical negligence.
For your peace of mind, you should consult a qualified personal injury lawyer at The Law Place who can advise you. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Florida Statue 95.11, the statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of the accident to make a wrongful death claim. After this period has elapsed, you will be barred from ever making a claim.
The sooner you start the legal process, the better, as your attorney will be better able to gather evidence and build a strong claim.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help
No amount of money can alienate the grief you feel from the loss of a family member. However, getting justice through the legal system may bring you and your family a little closure. The compensation you do receive could be a lifeline, especially if you are struggling financially because of the loss of a loved one’s income.
If you believe that your loved one suffered a wrongful death, call our team of Clearwater wrongful death lawyers at The Law Place to schedule a free consultation. Our law firm is available 24/7, and we cover both Clearwater and the rest of Florida. We will support you to formulate a legal strategy as you move forward during this difficult time.
Contact us today on (941) 444-4444.