In Florida, a wrongful death is one that a person or entity causes through any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” Wrongful deaths are especially painful and difficult to come to terms with. When someone else’s negligence results in the death of a loved one, it can feel like the world is caving in around you. It may seem unfathomable to think that someone’s recklessness or carelessness has torn your loved one away forever. Distracted drivers, negligent doctors, dangerous and defective products, and careless property owners can all cause wrongful death. The knowledge that proper care and attention might have prevented death is devastating. The Tampa wrongful death lawyers at Fiol Law Group empathizes with surviving family members after the wrongful death of a loved one, and may be able to help during this immensely difficult time.
Why Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim in Tampa?
A wrongful death claim may be the last thing on your mind after the death of a loved one. You may be focused on planning a funeral, paying for burial expenses, or sorting through the mountain of medical bills left behind. Fiol Law Group is here to tell you that legal action may be able to cover all these costs and compensate you and your family for many other damages. A wrongful death lawsuit can give you a much-needed sense of closure after a death that just doesn’t seem right to you. Pursuing justice for your wrongfully deceased wife, husband, child, parent, brother, or sister can give your family what it needs to begin to heal.
Filing a claim against a defendant for wrongful death can shed light on the defendant’s negligence, dangerous practices, or blatant disregard for the law. Hospital negligence claims, for example, can expose doctors or facilities that operate below accepted standards of patient care. A Tampa car accident lawsuit can hold a drunken driver responsible for his or her grave mistakes. Thus, these claims can in turn prevent future wrongful death cases. Moreover, a Florida civil court claim may be the only way your family can afford the substantial expenses a death can cause, such as medical bills of a hospital stay prior to death, property damage, and funeral/burial expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions: Wrongful Death
Q. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Florida law is clear here – only surviving family members may file a wrongful death litigation. Spouses or parents, depending on the deceased’s age- are most likely to successfully file, and sometimes children.
Q. What are the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida?
Generally, surviving family members have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. There are some exceptions, however. The Jeffrey Klee Memorial Act of 2010 removed the two year statute of limitations when the deceased was a victim of murder or manslaughter. Other exceptions also exist, but are not as black and white; our Tampa wrongful death lawyers will be able to identify such exceptions while discussing your case in a free consultation.
Q. Who Can and Can Not Be Sued for Wrongful Death?
Negligent acts are the key to a successful wrongful death claim, meaning as long as a party acted negligently, you can sue. The at-fault party may be an individual; a business; or a federal,state, local government agency, for example.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
If your wrongful death lawsit is successful, the courts may award you compensation for many types of damages you and your family have suffered. Damages in these kinds of cases include payment for lost support and services of the deceased person and loss of his/her companionship, guidance, and protection. This is especially true in cases involving a surviving spouse or minor children. Other types of damages include:
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Medical/funeral expenses family members paid
- Deceased person’s lost wages and benefits
- Medical/funeral expenses the estate paid
The types and amounts of damages you may receive in a wrongful death case will vary depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death. Speak to the Tampa wrongful death attorneys at Fiol Law Group for a more detailed idea of what types of damages your family may be eligible to receive. Fiol Law Group can help you understand your rights and privileges as a family member of the deceased, and walk you through the claims process in Tampa Bay. Our free consultations may be well worth your while if we believe you have grounds for a claim.
Wrongful Death Versus Personal Injury
There are many factors that make wrongful death claims unique. The first, and arguably most obvious, is who has the legal right to file a claim. Normally the injured party pursues the claim, requesting compensation for injuries and financial losses they suffered. For a wrongful death claim, the victim’s representative files the claim. The deceased may have named this representative in his or her will, but if not, the court will assign one. Though the representative is the one filing the claim, they are filing on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and family members, who will receive any damages that the court awards.
The second difference involves the types of damages a court may award. Most claims involve medical expenses, lost past and future wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. In a wrongful death case, damages can go to the deceased person’s spouse, children, parents, and any blood relatives or adopted siblings. Damages awarded in wrongful death cases focus more on what the victim would have been able to provide if they were still alive. In these cases, the court awards damages for medical expenses, funeral benefits, loss of future earnings, loss of financial support, and loss of care, comfort, and companionship.
Legal Help from Our Family to Yours
The compassionate and competent wrongful death lawyers at Fiol Law Group are dedicated to helping victims of negligence in the Tampa Bay area. If a slip and fall accident, car accident, truck accident, medical malpractice and hospital negligence law, dangerous product, defective piece of equipment, or another type of negligence led to the death of your loved one, don’t let the responsible party get away without facing justice. Fiol Law Group may be able to help you hold the negligent individual or company responsible for their actions and receive the money you need during this tough time. Call (813) 223-6773 or fill out our online contact form to speak with one of our attorneys.