When a loved one dies prematurely due to someone else’s negligence or callousness, family members suffer devastating losses. Having a mother, father, or spouse torn away leaves a hole no amount of money can fill. Although Florida may prosecute in some wrongful death cases, family members can get justice by filing a personal injury civil lawsuit. What happens in these challenging cases and the application of Florida law can be complicated.
At Andrew Pickett Law in Melbourne, FL, we bring wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of family members to help bridge the financial struggles and emotional void caused by a reckless party. If a loved one has been taken away due to someone’s irresponsible or malicious actions, the following information about wrongful death lawsuits could prove invaluable.
What Constitutes A Wrongful Death Legal Suit in Florida?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim in which your family member died due to a third party’s actions. Family members who lose a breadwinner often fall on hard economic times when the household loses that person’s salary. Those are considered economic losses under Florida law.
Although money remains quantifiable, the devastating non-economic consequences can be the most devastating. The emotional support, love, and children losing a parent for life hurt more than anything. Unless everyday people file an action, the individual who caused your family’s pain could evade responsibility. In that respect, wrongful death lawsuits are also about justice and closure. When working with grieving families, we isolate the components that give the force of law to a wrongful death action. These include the following.
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Four Components of a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit
- Loss of Life: Life-threatening or permanent injuries do not constitute wrongful death. These and other conditions can be dealt with through other personal injury lawsuits. Wrongful death claims can only be brought at end of life.
- Plaintiff Standing: Not every loved one has the standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit under Florida’s statutes. Such claims are usually limited to the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents. Children under 25 years old may be entitled to increased damages.
- Negligence: Under the Florida statutes, a wrongful manner “means in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting want and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property.” This may include a wide range of things from defective products to drunk driving to violent attacks.
- Loss: An experienced attorney will provide documents and qualitative information that details to what extent family members suffered. This part of the process taxes grieving community members emotionally. This is because it requires you and your legal counsel to arrive at a dollar amount. Unfortunately, wrongful death lawsuits are the only recourse devastated family members have at their disposal.
Arriving at an amount for damages after a death requires a skilled lawyer to weigh all the factors and apply the law.
These may involve past and future earning potential, health, life expectancy, and the non-monetary contributions they provided a spouse or children, as well as medical and funeral expenses. The loss of love and companionship can be difficult to quantify. However, it’s crucial to maximize the punitive damages to ensure the bad actor never harms another family.
Proving Negligence Caused Your Loved One’s Death in Florida Lawsuit
It’s important to understand that civil lawsuits do not necessarily follow the same rules of evidence and threshold for proof as criminal prosecutions. Well-documented and argued wrongful death actions sometimes make responsible party’s pay a hefty price even when they escape criminal penalties.
As the plaintiff, the case we build seeks to meet or exceed the legal standard of a “preponderance of the evidence.” That’s legal jargon that means it is more likely than otherwise the irresponsible party’s actions or negligence resulted in the death of your loved one. One of the crucial elements that sometimes prevents families from gaining civil justice involves waiting too long. Under Florida law, injured parties have up to two years to file a case.
Contact Andrew Pickett Law Firm for Help with a Lawsuit in Florida
Moving forward with a wrongful death lawsuit may be the last thing people want to focus on while struggling with a loss. But it’s crucial not to allow the negligent party to evade civil penalties. At Andrew Pickett Law, we address wrongful death lawsuits with compassion for our valued community members. We have the determination to secure full fair compensation on your behalf. Contact my Melbourne, FL office to schedule a no-cost wrongful death consultation.