When a person passes away in an incident that was caused by someone else’s recklessness or carelessness, their family is often greatly impacted both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, Florida laws allow a decedent’s family to pursue a wrongful death case to help with the costs associated with their death. A Clearwater wrongful death lawyer could help the family members of the recently deceased hold at-fault parties responsible for their actions. This could result in plaintiffs collecting compensation to pay for outstanding medical and funeral costs as well as money meant to alleviate the emotional and financial stresses of the future. An experienced personal injury attorney could work to identify potential legal options and to establish the accused party’s negligence. Call and arrange for an appointment to discuss your potential legal solutions as soon as possible.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Case?
Deaths that result from natural causes, such as weather phenomena and diseases, are rarely another party’s fault. However, deaths from instances involving car accidents or faulty products may be the fault or partial fault of the defendant.
To assign blame for a death to another party, a plaintiff must show that the defendant acted negligently. This allows a plaintiff to claim compensation from the defendant, even if that person did not mean to cause any harm. In many respects, wrongful death cases are similar to personal injury cases. The only difference is that the victim passed away from the injury, so the family members must file on the deceased’s behalf.
Common examples of wrongful death cases include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian and bike accidents
- Slips and falls
- Defective product injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous drug injuries
To win a case, a plaintiff must prove the defendant acted in a way that was negligent and this negligence caused the victim’s death. A negligent defendant will then be held responsible for their actions by paying family members compensation for various types of damages. A Clearwater wrongful death lawyer could help family members prove a defendant is legally liable for their loved one’s death.
Specific Laws Applied to Wrongful Death Lawsuits
While wrongful death lawsuits in Clearwater maintain many of the same elements of personal injury cases, there are special considerations that claimants should keep in mind. The first is determining which parties are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court.
In typical personal injury suits, the plaintiff is the injured individual. When the victim is now deceased, they cannot perform this function. Instead, Florida Statutes §768.20 states that the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the only person who can bring their wrongful death claim. This person is normally named in a decedent’s will but may be appointed by a court if necessary.
Another special consideration in wrongful death cases is the available sources of compensation. A wrongful death suit will generally always demand compensation for medical bills associated with the victim’s treatment and funeral costs. However, Florida Statute §768.21 specifically outlines additional sources of compensation for a decedent’s family. These include:
- Compensation for emotional trauma
- Compensation for a loss of parenting time
- Payments to compensate for a loss of future income
A Clearwater wrongful death lawyer could work with the surviving family members of the deceased to choose an appropriate representative and to calculate the correct value of damages for the lawsuit.
Working with a Clearwater Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a loved one often has an immediate negative effect on the decedent’s family members. The days and weeks following the loss are a chaotic time where people need to evaluate their financial and legal options while mourning.
A Clearwater wrongful death lawyer could help the family members of the deceased pursue compensation from at-fault defendants. This could include payments for medical bills and funeral costs as well as payments for future loss of income and companionship.
There is a limited time following the death of your loved one to file a case. Do not delay – contact an attorney today to discuss your case and secure your family’s future.