Wrongful Death In Florida
It may seem cold to think about bringing a wrongful death claim when you have just lost a loved one, even though their passing was due in theory to someone else’s negligence. However, there are some situations where it may be necessary – the deceased person might have been your family’s breadwinner, leaving you now with little other income, or you may simply want to see justice done for the deceased. Either way, if you do decide to pursue a wrongful death claim, it is a good idea to seek out an experienced and compassionate attorney who can help you through what can be a very complex and difficult process.
In some other states, there are two types of wrongful death cases that can be brought, depending on the nature of the incident where the deceased lost their life. In Florida, however, there is only one type, and it is brought on behalf of the surviving family members, by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. A case like this can be brought under Florida law when someone’s passing is caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty” of any person. This means that if your loved one’s death was allegedly caused by the negligent or wrongful behavior of another person, you should be able to try to find them liable for it in civil court.
The estate can seek many types of damages in the case, if appropriate. Examples include medical and funeral expenses, loss of consortium, lost future wages, loss of support and services, and many others. That said, it is important to keep in mind that in Florida, only specific immediate family members may recover – the law allows the decedent’s spouse, parents, children, and any adoptive or blood relatives who were “partly or wholly dependent” on the deceased for support and services. Thus, if you did not rely on the decedent and you are not immediate family, you are not considered a ‘survivor’ of that person and cannot recover.
There are three major elements that have to be proven in order for a wrongful death case to have a chance to prevail at trial. They are (1) showing that the defendant acted in a way that might constitute a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty,” as is required by the relevant statute; (2) showing that the defendant’s conduct was the direct cause of the decedent’s passing, with no other intervening cause; and (3) showing that had they survived, the decedent would conceivably have been able to bring a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages on their own behalf.
The last element is often the hardest to prove, because it can be difficult to reconstruct the accident or other event that led to the decedent’s passing. If, for example, your loved one lost their life in an auto accident, it would be necessary to be able to reconstruct the accident to the point where it would be possible to see if the defendant’s conduct directly caused the crash. It is possible to do this, especially with the right people on your side, but it can be difficult. Most people need experienced legal assistance to ensure that they have the best chance at some closure.
Contact A Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one suddenly is an experience that no one should ever have to go through, and it can be tempting to simply avoid the legal side of the issue. However, a wrongful death suit can help ensure that your family has the money and support they need to try and recover faster. Either way, a dedicated and compassionate Tampa wrongful death attorney can help smooth out the process. Contact the Tampa offices of the Rinaldo Law Group today for a free consultation.