Losing a loved one is an awful experience. But when the death of that loved one is unexpected and could have been prevented, it can be even more challenging to cope. Depending on the circumstances, it also might leave you questioning whether or not you have a wrongful death case. In this post, we’ll guide you through the many questions family members face after losing a loved one to wrongful death.
What Is Florida’s Law on Wrongful Death?
The state law concerning wrongful death is outlined in Florida statute 768. The law states that you might have a wrongful death case if the death of your loved one “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another individual or entity.
It is also important to know who specifically can bring a wrongful death case forward. The representative of the estate (often a family member) can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of following surviving loved ones:
- The deceased individual’s spouse, parents or children
- Any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was dependent on the deceased for financial support or other services
You should also know that you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In some special circumstances, you might be able to extend that deadline, but you’ll need to ask the courts for that extension.
What Are Some Common Wrongful Death Scenarios?
Losing a loved one to wrongful death due to someone else’s negligence can happen in a variety of ways. Here are some common wrongful death scenarios:
- Car accidents where the other driver was negligent, such as drunk driving
- Reckless driving that leads to the death of a motorcyclist
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home patients that suffer abuse or neglect leading to death
- A malfunctioning product or another type of product liability incident
- Unprovoked dog attacks where the animal was not properly restrained
- Slip and fall accidents where the owner did not keep the property safe
This list is not entirely inclusive so if your loved one passed away for a reason not listed but due to someone’s negligence, you should still contact a wrongful death attorney.
What Is Negligence?
To know whether your loved one might have been a victim of wrongful death, you need to understand negligence. As the plaintiff, you’ll have a burden of proof in showing that the defendant (the person you’re suing) was negligent toward your loved one in some way.
Negligence includes four basic tenets. This is a broad overview of what negligence is but you should still discuss the matter with an attorney to better evaluate whether you have a wrongful death case and how negligence applies.
- The individual or entity had a duty of care toward your loved one.
- That individual or entity breached that duty of care. In other words, they did not exhibit the level of care toward that individual that a reasonable person would.
- The breached duty of care caused your loved one’s death or contributed to a health condition that eventually led to their death.
Your attorney might recommend pursuing a lawsuit against an entity, such as the nursing home where your loved one resided. Or, you might sue an individual in the case of a car accident that killed your loved one.
In some cases, your attorney might recommend naming more than one at-fault party. For example, a driver may have been negligent in an auto accident but the accident took place in an intersection that the municipality knew was dangerous, but the municipality took no action.
Wrongful Death Damages
When pursuing a wrongful death case in Florida, you can pursue both financial damages – such as medical bills and lost income – as well as emotional damages. Here’s a look at some of the damages you might seek as part of your wrongful death lawsuit in Florida:
- Pain and suffering from the loss of a loved one
- Loss of companionship
- Lost earnings the victim would have made had they not died
- Loss of service from the deceased, such as housework or physical labor
- Medical bills for caring for the deceased until their death
- Funeral expenses
Wrongful Death Attorney in Florida
The time following the death of a loved one is a time for grieving and honoring that person’s memory. Take your time to do this, and when you’re ready, turn to the wrongful death attorneys at Goldman & Daszkal.
We’ll treat your case with the care it deserves and advise you on whether or not your loved one suffered a wrongful death. Schedule your free consultation now to discuss your case and make sure you don’t miss the statute of limitations on your loved one’s case.