Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Losing a loved one is emotionally and financially devastating. A surviving family member must not only cope with the profound disbelief, grief, anger and sadness due to an unexpected death, but also manage the financial hardship from the absence of the deceased. At Clayton Trial Lawyers, we know that nothing can take away the overwhelming grief you may be feeling, especially when the wrongful death was caused by negligence or carelessness. At the same time, we understand that you may be dealing with unprecedented uncertainty about your financial future.
Our lawyers can protect your legal rights and help you recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit to get you the full compensation you deserve. When a wrongful death is involved, numerous challenging areas of the law come into play. The time to file suit is shortened to two (2) years, the Estate of the lost family member has to file a lawsuit, and the personal injury lawyer also has to be familiar with probate law.
What is a Wrongful Death Legal Claim
A wrongful death claim arises when an individual is responsible for another’s death. It is an independent legal action that seeks monetary compensation for the survivors – the spouse and children — and for the estate itself. Wrongful death claims typically involve the recovery of monetary compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and the value of lost financial support.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows family members of the lost loved one to file a wrongful death suit against the person or company they believe is responsible for their loved one’s death. Under Florida law, such a claim may be filed when the individual’s death was caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters.” Also, Florida law generally allows claims for damages incurred from when the injury happened to the time of death, plus interest, in addition to your expected future earnings.
Qualifying for a Wrongful Death Legal Claim
Wrongful death claims involve a range of fatal incidents, from a car or truck accident to a complex case of medical malpractice cases. They can happen from:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cancer causing products like Zantac or Roundup
- Defective Products
- Accidents or exposure to hazardous materials and conditions
Compensation for a Wrongful Death Legal Claim
An attorney may recover both economic and noneconomic damages to the family of the deceased. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, and compensation for these financial burdens:
- Medical or hospital expenses for the injury to your loved one, prior to passing
- Funeral and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income that the deceased would have otherwise provided to the family if the wrongful death not happened
- Lost prospect of inheritance that a child would have otherwise received when their lost parent — from a wrongful death
Who May Bring Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida law requires the Personal Representative of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death claim. The personal representative may be named in the deceased person’s will or estate plan. If there is no will or estate plan, the personal representative will be appointed by the court.
Although the wrongful death claim is filed by the Personal Representative, it is filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members. In the wrongful death claim, the Personal Representative must list every survivor (family member) who has an interest in the case.
Family members who may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case include:
- the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents, and
- any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”
If a child is born to unmarried parents, the child can still recover damages if the mother dies. If the child’s father dies, however, the child can only recover damages if the father had formally recognized the child as his own and was obligated to contribute to the support of the child (now whether the father actually did towards support; the father just had to have duty to so contribute).
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claim
Each state has passed laws that set time limits on your right to go to court and file a lawsuit. This kind of law is called a statute of limitations, and most states have passed a separate statute that covers wrongful death lawsuits.
It is important to know that the time to sue in Florida has a shorter time fuse. A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases, according to Florida Statutes Section 95.11(4)(d). The deadline may be “tolled,” or postponed, under a few very specific circumstances. An attorney with experience handling Florida wrongful death cases can help you determine exactly when the lawsuit must be filed in your case.
It’s critical to understand and follow the deadline set by law, otherwise you could lose your right to bring your wrongful death lawsuit to court.
Why choose Clayton Trial Lawyers
Clayton Trial Lawyers understands that few things are more difficult than the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one due to a wrongful death accident. To help lessen the financial burden experienced by the accidental death of your loved one, we will bring a wrongful death claim so that you recover compensation for your loss.
Clayton Trial Lawyers are experienced wrongful death lawyers that will represent you and your family and will ensure you get compensated to the fullest extent of the law.