There is no easy way to deal with the emotional pain of losing a loved one. These struggles can be especially difficult if their passing was avoidable or otherwise related to an act of negligence. In these situations, a Spring Hill wrongful death lawyer might be able to help.
If your loved one’s passing is due to another person’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit could be appropriate. The financial compensation that can come with a civil lawsuit cannot bring back your family member or undo your pain, but it could provide a measure of justice from the responsible party. What’s more, these funds could cover final medical expenses and provide you with resources needed for moving forward without your loved one.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Spring Hill?
No two states approach wrongful death laws exactly the same. Some jurisdictions give the surviving relatives of a deceased person the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their own. That is not the approach under Florida law.
Wrongful death lawsuits are governed by Fla. Stat. § 768. 20. Under this statute, a wrongful death lawsuit may only be filed by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This is a person that is appointed by the court to act on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
There are different ways a personal representative—commonly known as an executor—could assume the position. Many people nominate a representative in their last will and testament. As long as that person is willing and able to serve, the court will generally appoint them. When there is no one appointed or willing to serve in the position, the court will make the selection on their own. The executor is frequently a member of the family or a beneficiary of the estate.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Spring Hill, 800-747-3733
Who Is Entitled to Compensation from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The personal representative is responsible for filing the wrongful death lawsuit, but they do not do so for their own benefit. Instead, the proceeds of these lawsuits go to the heirs of the estate. In other words, the surviving relatives of a deceased person might not have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but they are typically the ones to recover compensation when these cases are successful.
Different forms of compensation could be available in a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of these damages are designed to ease the hardship suffered by the surviving relatives. Other damages are intended to cover the financial costs related to the death. While individual family members typically recover the first type of damages, the second type generally goes to the estate.
Damages Available to the Family
Some of the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are based on the hardship the surviving relatives experience after the passing of their loved one. These damages are related not only to the loss of financial support that they experience, but also the emotional toll that it can have on a family.
These damages often provide compensation for the services or support that the decedent would have provided their family members. This includes financial support that would have been provided by the loved one’s income as well as services they performed at home.
The emotional impact of this loss could also result in compensation. The family could be entitled to the mental pain and suffering they experience due to the unexpected passing. Damages also could be available based on the loss of companionship and guidance from a parent to a child. A family member could recoup any funeral expenses they paid out of pocket as well.
Damages Available to the Estate
The estate might also be entitled to financial compensation through a wrongful death action. These damages are typically related to the financial losses that resulted from the sudden death. This could include things like lost income or benefits from the date of the fatal injury until the time of their death. These damages are common when a person does not pass away immediately at the time they sustain their fatal injury or illness.
Other expenses could result in damages for the estate as well. It is common for these cases to include the cost of funeral and burial expenses. Any medical bills the decedent accrued at the end of their life could also result in compensation for the estate.
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How does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Differ from a Criminal Charge?
It is not difficult to confuse a wrongful death lawsuit for a criminal prosecution for homicide. In fact, both types of cases involve the same incidents. However, there are important differences that set each type of legal action apart.
Homicide is a type of criminal charge that is ultimately brought by a prosecuting attorney. In the criminal justice system, a conviction typically leads to incarceration, fines, and other penalties. While the state prosecutor might consult with you regarding their charging decision, you have no control over whether the state brings a case based on your loved one’s passing or not.
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil cases. They are filed by the representative of the estate, which has the ultimate control on when and how to file the lawsuit. Unlike criminal charges, a wrongful death lawsuit will not result in time behind bars. Instead, the outcome of a successful wrongful death lawsuit is a monetary award.
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Let Our Firm Help You Seek Justice for Your Loved One
There is no easy way to face the unexpected loss of a beloved family member. If this loss could have been avoided had it not been for an act of negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit could be appropriate. This type of legal action cannot undo the harm that has happened to your family, but it could ease the financial strain that the unexpected debt has caused. It could also provide you with a measure of justice, especially if the state does not pursue criminal charges.
Let a Spring Hill wrongful death lawyer from The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine advocate for you during this emotional time. Reach out right away for a free consultation.
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