Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death

A wrongful death occurs when one person’s negligence or direct act results int eh death of another person. Unlike cases of murder, manslaughter, and homicide, wrongful death claims are civil cases and are not tried in criminal court. Civil cases differ from criminal cases because they are not meant to punish the defendant but rather, compensate the family members of the deceased for any losses they have incurred due to the loss.

Common Accidents Resulting in Wrongful Death

Car accidents are one of the most common instances in which a wrongful death can occur. However, the most common causes are as follows:

  • Bicycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse & neglect
  • Mislabeled or defective products
  • Criminal acts resulting from negligent or inadequate security

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a personal representative of the deceased is the only person allowed to file a wrongful death claim. If the personal representative is not outlined in the deceased’s will, the court will designate a person to act as the representative. Wrongful death lawsuits are typically filed on behalf of the estate, and the loved ones of the deceased. Family members that are qualified to recover from a wrongful death claim include the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, any other blood relative or adoptive sibling that is at least partly dependent on the deceased for support.

Although these individuals have the right to recover from a wrongful death lawsuits, these claims must be filed as soon as possible. The statute of limitations in Florida on wrongful death claims is just two years from the date of death.

Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims

In wrongful death claims, damages are available for both surviving loved ones, as well as the estate of the deceased. Surviving loved ones can seek compensation for:

  • The value of the services and support the deceased provided to the surviving loved ones
  • Past medical expenses paid for the treatment of the condition that led to the death
  • Loss of companionship and guidance
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Funeral expenses

The estate of the deceased can recover damages for any loss the deceased incurred prior to their death and that was related to the act of negligence that led to death. These include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, as well as future earnings
  • The value of the estate that could reasonably be expected if the deceased had survived the accident that led to their death

In most cases, spouses have a case for the loss of companionship of the deceased, as well as emotional trauma. Children can recover compensation for the lost benefits of the relationship they had with the decades parent. Parents can only recover compensation if their child was a minor and they are seeking damages for emotional trauma and the lost relationship with the child. Usually, parents of adult children cannot receive compensation.

In cases in which the defendant showed gross negligence or recklessness, or acted with malicious intent, punitive damages may also be awarded. These damages are not meant to compensate loved ones, but punish the defendant and deter them from behaving in such a manner again.

Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

To be successful with your wrongful death claim, you must prove that a wrongful death occurred, and that you are eligible under law to recover compensation for your losses. These are very difficult aspects of any wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are governed by many different rules and additional factors that make it challenging to determine which parties can recover compensation, and when. Certain factors, such as divorce, remarriage, adopted children, stepchildren, and other family relationships can complex the matter. Due to the fact that these claims are so complicated, you should always speak to a wrongful death lawyer that can help ensure success with your claim.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Wrongful deaths can be complicated legal matters which involve a wide variety of significant factors. That is why you should seek the input of a capable attorney for the answers and guidance you need.

If a loved one has died due to another’s negligence, call us at (904) 714-8500, e-mail us at info@aventislaw.com, or submit the easy online form to request your free legal consultation today so that you can talk to an experienced legal professional about your situation.