Grief is a hugely difficult and painful feeling, especially when it stems from the death of a loved one or family member. This pain is multiplied by the knowledge that the death could have been avoided if it were not for the wrongful actions of another person. Throughout grief, it is important to allow yourself time and self-care, but this may be difficult due to the potential financial issues the death of a loved one may have. You may have suffered from a loss of income, medical fees, or you may not be able to give yourself time to grieve due to a need to obtain a stable income. Therefore, it is useful to stay informed on filing a wrongful death lawsuit as, while this cannot heal your emotional loss, it can help you to obtain compensation to make the grieving process as comfortable as possible.
The Law Place can help you to bring a wrongful death action. Our dedicated team, with over 75 years of combined experience, can provide you with a free consultation to help you make a wrongful death claim. We will be highly considerate of your personal experience and provide you with the support you need through this difficult time. Contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action and is defined in Florida Statute 768.19 as when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, and the event would have entitled the injured person to recover damages if death had not ensued.
Therefore, a wrongful death claim must contain the following elements:
- The conduct of a person or company must have caused the death of the victim.
- This conduct must involve a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.
- Had the deceased not been killed as a result of the conduct, they would have been entitled to bring an action against the person or company for their conduct.
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What Are the Various Categories of Wrongful Death?
There are many categories of wrongful death claims, such as:
- Medical malpractice – This type of wrongful death action can be brought against a hospital or an individual physician if they have acted below the expected standard of care, such as by misdiagnosis, and this has resulted in the death of their patient.
- Automobile accidents – If a person has acted negligently whilst driving a vehicle, such as speeding whilst driving a car and causing a car accident, and this has resulted in the death of another person, then they may be liable for a wrongful death claim.
- Product liability – This type of wrongful death claim may come from malfunctioning machinery or the mislabelling of products that causes death.
- Workplace incident – The workplace of the deceased can be held liable for a wrongful death claim if they have been negligent, usually through subpar working conditions, which have resulted in the death of their employee.
What Is Negligence in the Context of a Wrongful Death Claim?
Negligence is generally defined as the failure to use a reasonable level of care when compared to a reasonably careful person in the same circumstances. There are four elements to a claim of negligence:
- A duty of care – There must be a legal recognition that the defendant had a duty to provide a certain level of care for the victim.
- A breach of that duty – The duty must be shown to have been breached or failed to have been performed.
- Causation – There must be proof that the wrongful death of the victim was directly caused by the breach of duty by the defendant.
- Damage – The breach of duty must be shown to have caused injury or loss to the victim (in this particular context, it must be shown to have caused the death of the victim).
It is important to be aware that the burden of proof for proving negligence is placed on the plaintiff. This means that if you are bringing a wrongful death claim based on negligent actions, then you must prove that the wrongful death was directly caused by a breach of duty of care.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
As stated in The Florida Wrongful Death Act, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed by a personal representative on behalf of the deceased. Who the personal representative will be is generally determined by the will of the victim or will be appointed by the court if no will or estate plan exists. Usually, the personal representative will be a surviving family member
The act specifically sets out those who can sue for wrongful death. Those with the following relationship to the incident or victim of wrongful death may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Survivors of the incident.
- The surviving spouse.
- Children of the deceased.
- Parents of minor children who were victims of wrongful death.
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What Damages Are Available in Wrongful Death Claims?
Florida Statute 768.21 identifies the types of damages available if you successfully sue for wrongful death:
- Loss of support and services – This is from the date of the decedent’s injury to their death, as well as including the future loss of support and services.
- Loss of companionship and pain and suffering – If you have suffered emotional trauma as a result of the wrongful death of a loved one, then you may be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Loss of parental companionship – Minor children of the decedent, or all children if there are no surviving parents, can receive compensation for a loss of parental companionship and guidance, as well as any pain and suffering.
- Medical or funeral expenses – You may be able to recover any medical or funeral expenses paid in connection with the wrongful death.
- Recovery for the decedent’s estate – This can include loss of earnings as well as any medical, funeral, and burial expenses charged against the estate.
If you have been affected by the wrongful death of a loved one, it is important that you recover the damages that you deserve in order to allow you to focus on yourself throughout the grieving process.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you are looking for legal advice to help you through a wrongful death case, then contact The Law Place today! Our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys, with over 75 years of combined experience, want to help you achieve the justice you deserve and help to make the recovery process as smooth as possible. We can provide you with a free consultation with a personal injury attorney who will provide you with valuable legal advice whilst respecting your wishes.
To book your free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.