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 unbelievable to think that someone’s recklessness or carelessness killed your loved one. The knowledge that proper care and attention might have prevented death is devastating. The Tampa wrongful death attorneys at Fiol Law Group empathize with surviving family members after the wrongful death of a loved one. Contact our office today and let us help you during this difficult time.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act
Florida Statutes section 768.19 states that the estate of a deceased person may bring a civil suite if the death is caused by any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” The following people are entitled to receive compensation after a wrongful death:
- The deceased’s spouse, children, or parents
- Blood relatives who are dependent on the deceased for support
Any representative who is named in the deceased’s will must initiate the wrongful death claim. If there is no will, the surviving spouse is generally considered the representative. If there is no spouse or the spouse is also deceased, then the representative will be chosen by the remaining family members. The court will appoint one if they cannot decide.
Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim may be the last thing on your mind after the death of a loved one. Your focus may be on planning a funeral, paying for burial expenses, or sorting through the mountain of medical bills left behind. However, a wrongful death claim can:
- Help you recover costs and compensate your family for other damages.
- Give you a much-needed sense of closure. Pursuing justice for your deceased wife, husband, child, or parent can give your family what it needs to begin to heal.
- Shed light on the defendant’s negligence and help others. By exposing negligence, these claims can prevent future wrongful death cases.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
If your lawsuit is successful, the courts may award you compensation for the damages you and your family have suffered. Damages in these kinds of cases include:
- Payment for the value of lost support and services
- Loss of companionship
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Medical/funeral expenses family members paid
- Lost wages and benefits
- Medical/funeral expenses the estate paid
The amounts of damages you receive in a wrongful death case will vary depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death. Speak to Fiol Law Group for a more detailed idea of what types of damages your family may be eligible to receive. We can help you understand your rights and privileges as a family member of the deceased. Our free consultations may be well worth your while if we believe you have grounds for a claim.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death
Q. What is the Statute of Limitations?
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 exist, but are not as black and white. Our lawyers will be able to identify such exceptions while discussing your case in a free consultation.
Q. Who Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death?
The at-fault party may be an individual; a business; or a federal, state, local government agency. If a party acted negligently, there is an option to sue.
Q. What is the difference between wrongful death and homicide?
These differ on a few factors. First, the standard of evidence. A wrongful death case is a civil case and a homicide is a criminal case. The standard of evidence is much lower in civil cases than criminal cases. Evidence in civil cases must show that your argument is more than likely true. Evidence in criminal cases must prove beyond reasonable doubt. This is because damages in criminal cases are much more severe. The defendant in a criminal case could face years of imprisonment, in addition to other fiscal penalties.
Get Help from Our Tampa Lawyers
The wrongful death lawyers at Fiol Law Group are dedicated to helping victims in Tampa. Don’t let the responsible party get away without facing justice. Fiol Law Group may be able to help you 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.