Losing a loved one is a devastating experience for everyone involved, as people go through a wide range of emotions very quickly. But when a person dies as a direct consequence of someone else's negligence, knowing what to do next is difficult. At a time like this, you need the advice of an experienced Attorney. As a survivor, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. While taking legal action may not be a priority for those who lose a loved one, it's important that the survivors consider talking to an attorney as early as possible. In your time of grief, evidence may disappear, witnesses may disappear or even worse, they may change their story or forget a small detail which is important to proving your case.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim is a civil action made by the survivors of an individual who has passed away due to the negligence or misconduct of another. Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents, including car accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. Individuals, companies and government agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the survivors of the deceased to seek compensation for lost support or services after the death of a loved one. A representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the deceased's death must file a wrongful death claim. These survivors include a spouse, life partner, parent, child or other relative or sibling that was dependent on the deceased for emotional or financial support. There are limitations under the law, so it is best to seek out the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
In Florida, there is a time limit for filing wrongful death claims. Florida's statute of limitations for filing wrongful death lawsuits is two years. Failure to file within this time limit may prohibit the potential claimant from being able to seek compensation for their losses. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, different statutes of limitations may apply, and therefore, it is important to discuss all elements of the case with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Case?
Wrongful death occurs when negligence, recklessness or deliberate behavior results in a fatality. In order for a wrongful death case to be successful, you need to be able to prove that the "at fault" party was negligent. In most cases, there are four critical components of negligence that need to be proven in order to achieve a favorable outcome.
These four components include:
- The defendant had a duty to the deceased
- The defendant failed in that duty (breach of duty)
- That the fatality was caused by the defendant's breach of duty
- That the survivors are entitled to damages as a result of the loss of their loved one
Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Birth injuries
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
If you've lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, it's important that you consult an attorney immediately so that monetary damages can be received. An attorney will help guide you through the process and will make sure you're not forced to handle the phone calls and paperwork that go along with the case.