A wrongful death is when a person is killed due to the intentional, reckless or negligent misconduct of another party. A wrongful death claim (a civil lawsuit) can be brought by a personal representative of the estate which is normally a surviving family member such as a spouse, child, parents, or siblings, etc., meeting specific criteria under Florida law.
Wrongful deaths often result from car, truck and motorcycle accidents, birth injuries, premises liability, and medical malpractice. Wrongful death claims can be brought against individuals, companies, businesses, manufacturers, hospitals, doctors, nurses, dentists, nursing homes and other parties whose negligence caused the death of a person owed a duty of care. Negligence refers to the failure of an individual to behave how a reasonably prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances.
Survivors may be entitled to damages which can include compensation for any incurred medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, loss of net accumulations to the Estate, loss of companionship, loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, and pain and suffering. In some cases, a judge or jury can recommend or award punitive damages. This is compensation in addition to the actual award, which is meant to send a message and punish the defendant for the harm they caused and to deter the defendant and others from repeating this act or behavior in the future.
The unexpected and wrongful death of a loved one can be very traumatic and an emotional time for family members. Especially when they learn that the event could have been prevented or avoided. Families are grieving the loss of their loved one but also at the same time trying to cope with their new reality. What do they do now – how do they live without that person, how do they pay bills and continue to provide for their family, etc.
It is strongly recommended that you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to handle your case. Florida’s statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the individual’s death. If you fail to file suit or pre-suit notice of intent in a wrongful death case within the required two-year period after the death of your loved one, then the Florida statute of limitations prohibits the family from recovering monetary damages or other compensation for the loss of your loved one.
In addition, trial attorneys are required to prove that a company or individual was responsible for the loved one’s death by their act of negligence, a wrongful act, a breach of contract, or default. In other words, a company or individual had a duty owed to protect the decedent; however, that duty was breached resulting in the death of the loved one (causing damage – a lost life). Their willful, careless, or negligent act caused the loss of life.
Attorney Tami Wolfe understands that the unexpected passing of a family member is heartbreaking and the process that follows can be confusing and often frustrating. While no amount of compensation can undo your tragic loss, a compensation award may ease your future emotional and financial hardships.