Orlando Wrongful Death Attorneys
Florida Statutes section 678.18 states that a wrongful death occurs “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.” With the exception of willful murder, most wrongful deaths occur unintentionally and usually from negligence. These include things like medical malpractice, other common medical errors, a car accident, bicycle accident an accident at the workplace, a faulty consumer product and being provided an illegal drug. This can also include criminal acts such as violent robberies, drunk driving, or other negligent by a driver who is determined to be at fault . A wrongful death can also occur in a nursing home or assisted living facility when there is a lack of care, or negligence. If there has been a wrongful death, “the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida’s courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from it.”
Wrongful death lawyers who focus on wrongful death lawsuits see many cases that have common issues:
- Automobile, commercial truck, bicycle or motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Medical errors
- Birth injuries
- Product defects
- Occupational exposure and hazards
- Accidents on public or private property
- Crimes including violence, shootings and stabbings, this includes robbery or drunk driving
- Activities including day care, adult care and field trips which were supervised
- Nursing home or assisted living abuse, neglect or lack of care
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.”
Although Florida law requires the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death claim, it can be on behalf of any of those listed above.
In certain circumstances, unrelated minor children living with and supported by the decedent may also bring a claim for wrongful death. In order to bring a successful wrongful death cause of action, the following elements must be present:
- The premature, unnecessary and wrongful death of a human being, which is caused by another person’s careless, negligent, or intentional behavior, including neglect.
- The survival of family members who are suffering the loss of financial support, love, care, comfort, supervision, guidance, household assistance and general society previously that the wrongfully killed person provided to them.
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 precise instances.
Damages that surviving family members may receive in these kinds of cases include:
Possible damages that can be awarded to family members of the deceased include:
- The value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child, and
medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages.These include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived, and provided to his or her family;
- Lost prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived, (in other words the savings that a person plan for the future of his or her family); and,
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
What You Have to Prove
Typically, you must prove the following elements of a wrongful death case:
- Duty of Care – The Plaintiff must prove to the court that the Defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For example, in the case of a car accident, the Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant had an obligation to obey the Rules of the Road and drive carefully while operating any vehicle
- Breach of Duty of Care – The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant breached the duty of care owed to the Defendant. Again, if the situation involves a car accident, the Plaintiff must show that the Defendant failed to obey the applicable traffic laws, such as by speeding or by running a red light; and
- Causation – It is not sufficient that the Plaintiff merely show that the Defendant broke the law in some manner, or breached a duty in some other way. The Plaintiff must also show that Defendant’s particular action directly caused the wrongful death. So, even if the Defendant ran a red light while driving a car, the Defendant is not responsible for the deceased’s death if the death was caused by something else, such as a mechanical failure on the deceased’s vehicle.
Keep in mind that the burden of proof in a wrongful death lawsuit is on the plaintiff.
CONTACT OUR ORLANDO WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS TODAY
A wrongful death lawsuit can be quite complicated; gathering evidence, talking to witnesses, researching relevant case law. It is all to be started within the statute of limitations and will likely coincide with the grief you’re experiencing over the loss of your loved one. It’s important that you have a trusted advisor who knows and understand the process. Someone who can help guide in seeking justice in one of the most stressful times in your life.
If your family member has been the victim of wrongful death, you need the services of our Orlando wrongful death attorneys, we encourage you to CONTACT US so that we can learn more about your potential case and review it at no charge.