When you lose a loved one to the careless, negligent, or reckless conduct of others, you may have a claim for wrongful death. A civil wrongful death lawsuit can enable selected family members and the estate of the decedent to claim compensation from all liable parties for their losses.
A Pensacola wrongful death lawyer from our law firm can help surviving family members bring these legal claims to hold the responsible parties accountable for the deaths of their loved ones.
Wrongful Death Actions Under Florida Law
Florida Statutes §768.19 establishes a civil cause of action when wrongful acts or negligence leads to death if the deceased would have had the right to bring a civil action for their injuries had they survived. In other words, if the deceased had survived their injuries and had the right to file a civil personal injury lawsuit, then survivors of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death suit is a completely different legal action than any criminal prosecution that arises from the same incident. For instance, if an individual drives while intoxicated and causes an accident that results in death to others, surviving family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death action seeking compensation. The intoxicated driver could be civilly liable for damages for the death.
However, that same intoxicated driver also is likely to face criminal charges for driving while intoxicated and causing a fatal accident. The outcome of the criminal charges does not determine the outcome of the civil wrongful death claim and vice versa. Although some evidence from one case may be relevant in the other case, they still are two completely separate cases.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Pensacola, 800-747-3733
Legal Assistance Helps
State statutes strictly govern the parties, procedures, and potential damages in wrongful death claims. Having an attorney on your side to navigate your wrongful death claim helps to ensure that you meet all requirements and deadlines for filing your case in court. This assistance also can allow you to focus on your emotional recovery and supporting your family.
We offer free, no-obligation consultations to you and your family members following the death of your loved one. If you decide to hire us to help you, we can get started on your case without any advance payments. You will pay nothing until you receive a damages award in your wrongful death case.
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Injuries That Can Lead to Wrongful Death Claims
Various types of accidents can lead to wrongful death claims, including any negligent conduct that causes death. Negligence generally is the failure to act with due care as would a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances. Some common examples of situations that might lead to a wrongful death claim include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Incidents involving medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Use of defective products
- Intentional criminal actions, such as assaults
While many of these accidents do not result in death, some do. When a death results from the negligence of others, a wrongful death lawsuit may be warranted. Surviving family members and the representative of the estate of the deceased person may be able to pursue compensation from all negligent parties.
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Damages for Survivors in Wrongful Death Cases
Florida Statutes §768.21 outlines the damages that family members and the estate of the deceased person may claim in a civil wrongful death action. First, survivors can claim the value of lost support and services for both the time period between the accident and the death, as well as in the future. Both surviving spouses and children of the deceased also may recover damages for mental pain and suffering related to the death.
Furthermore, surviving spouses can claim compensation for loss of companionship and protection. Surviving minor children also can claim compensation for loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance. If the deceased person has no surviving spouse, adult children also can share in these forms of compensation, but not in a case involving medical negligence.
Parents of deceased minor children also can recover damages for mental pain and suffering from the injury, and parents of adult children can recover damages if there are no other survivors, except in cases of medical negligence. Additional potential damages include medical and funeral expenses for the deceased.
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Damages for Estates of Decedents in Wrongful Death Cases
The personal representative of the estate of the deceased person also can recover specific damages in a wrongful death case. These damages include:
- Loss of earnings from the date of the injuries to the date of death
- Loss of reasonably expected prospective net earnings of the estate if there is a surviving spouse or other lineal descendants
- The decedent is not a minor child, there are no lost support or services recoverable as described above, and there is a surviving parent
- Medical and funeral expenses that are chargeable to the estate
All damage awards in a wrongful death case are subject to the claims of creditors, or people or companies to whom the decedent owed money at the time of death. A Pensacola wrongful death lawyer from our law firm can help you determine the various types of compensation that may be available in a wrongful death case.
Deadlines for Filing Wrongful Death Cases
Florida Statutes §95.11(4)(d) provides that surviving family members have two years from the date of death of their loved ones to file wrongful death lawsuits in court. Failing to meet this deadline can result in you being unable to claim any damages related to the death of your loved one. This statute of limitations can bar your ability to get compensation from the parties responsible for the death, no matter how negligent their behavior was.
Get Legal Assistance with Your Wrongful Death Claim Today
A wrongful death claim can be challenging to navigate, especially as you and your family are grieving the loss of a loved one. Turning to a Pensacola wrongful death lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can benefit your case. We work to achieve the best possible outcome for your family.
Learn more about your rights to compensation following the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of others. Call our personal injury lawyers today for a free case consultation today.
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