If you lost a loved one in an accident, it is normal to feel angry, conflicted, overwhelmed, or all of the above. This is especially true if your loved one’s passing left you in dire financial straits.
The Florida Statutes § 768.19 says a family can sue for wrongful death if the death was caused by someone else’s carelessness, and if they suffered damages as a result of this carelessness. The compensation you may be able to recover from a lawsuit can go a long way in helping you pay your bills and get back on your feet.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 747-3733
Wrongful Deaths Are the Result of Negligence
It is against the law to text and drive. Employers must provide their employees with proper training and safety equipment. If a company’s product is unsafe, they must recall it. All of these laws exist to protect people from harm. That is what it means to be part of society: keep each other safe, even if following the rules is not always convenient.
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. Their short-sighted, careless behavior can have fatal consequences. These people may include:
- Drivers who do not follow driving laws or do not pay attention to their surroundings
- Manufacturers who ignore safety standards and allow unsafe products to go to market
- Employers who force workers to use unsafe tools or work in a hazardous environment
- Doctors who misdiagnose you or do not provide adequate treatment
This is just a small sampling of the people and organizations that may be held responsible for wrongful death cases. Regardless of the exact circumstances of your loved one’s death, if someone else’s negligence was responsible, you have the right to file a lawsuit.
You Must File Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Time to Collect Damages
The first thing to worry about when suing for damages is the statute of limitations. This is a legal time limit on when you can file a lawsuit. The Florida Statutes § 95.11 generally gives you two years from the day your loved one passed away to begin your suit. If you do not file within two years, you may no longer be eligible for damages.
If the statute of limitations has not yet expired, you can start thinking about what damages to sue for. The Florida Statutes § 768.21 outlines who may sue for wrongful death damages and what kinds of compensation they are entitled to receive. There are some limits included in this statute, so you may want to read it carefully or hire a lawyer to help you understand it.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, damages are divided into economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages compensate you for monetary losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages and/or earning capacity
Noneconomic damages compensate you for the physical or mental injuries you and your loved one sustained, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of companionship
If you have been too shocked or saddened by your loved one’s death to think of itemizing your losses in this way, do not worry. A lawyer may assist you in figuring out what and how much to ask for as compensation.
Legal Representation Can Help You in Many Ways
You do not, legally speaking, need a lawyer to file a lawsuit. Your right to represent yourself goes all the way back to the Judiciary Act of 1789 § 35.
However, you should remember that you might not just be dealing with the person liable for your loved one’s death. Most likely, you may have to negotiate with the liable person’s insurance company, which have dealt with many lawsuits before and have their own legal team to protect their interests.
Hiring a lawyer of your own can take a huge weight off your shoulders. With legal representation, you will not have to worry about things like:
- Investigating your claim: This may include visiting the scene of the accident and collecting documents like medical records or witness statements.
- Communicating with the liable party: A lawyer can serve as a buffer between you and the liable party, their insurance company, and their attorney.
- Negotiating: The insurance company may resist paying what you might be entitled to collect. Your lawyer can sit down with them and try to get them to agree to a fair settlement. If this is successful, your lawyer will draw up an agreement for you both to sign.
- Representing you in court: Unfortunately, insurance companies are sometimes reluctant to pay. A lawyer may represent you in the courtroom and continue the fight for your compensation if you choose to pursue this route.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we understand how devastating it can be to lose a spouse, a parent, or a child. Help is available in the form of monetary compensation. A family can sue for wrongful death, and we can handle your lawsuit while you focus on rebuilding your life. Call our office at 1-800-747-3733 to get started. You do not have to pay any attorney’s fees unless we win your case.