There are few situations in life that are more challenging than the unexpected passing of a close family member. These circumstances can be especially difficult when their death was the result of someone else’s negligence. In these cases, a wrongful death lawsuit could provide a measure of justice for the surviving relatives.
If your loved one passed away due to another person’s careless actions, you could have viable grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of legal action could not only provide you with financial support, but it could also hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions. Talk to a Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer right away to learn more.
The Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
You do not have the individual right to file a wrongful death suit in Winter Haven. Unlike other states that allow surviving family members to file wrongful death lawsuits themselves, Florida requires these lawsuits to be filed by the personal representative of the estate.
The personal representative of the estate is typically appointed in a person’s will or estate plan. When no representative has been named, it is up to the court to select that individual. Often, a judge will appoint a member of the decedent’s family to that role.
It is important to understand the difference between the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and the right to recover the proceeds from a successful legal action. While a personal representative must file a wrongful death case, it is the surviving relatives of the decedent that are entitled to the proceeds.
State law is clear on the family members that have a right to recover from a wrongful death case. These family members include surviving spouses, children, and parents of the deceased. There are also exceptions that could expand this list to include additional family members. For example, siblings could be entitled to share in the proceeds of a wrongful death case if they were financially reliant on the decedent at the time of their passing.
For a free legal consultation with a wrongful death lawyer serving Winter Haven, call 863-250-5050
Compensation for a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, meaning that financial compensation is the reward if the case is successful. There are different types of compensation that could be awarded in each case. In some cases, there is little doubt which type of compensation the surviving family is entitled to recover. In other situations, it might not be immediately apparent which award is appropriate. Thankfully, you do not have to answer these questions on your own.
Your Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer could advise you on the types of compensation available in your wrongful death lawsuit. While no attorney can promise a specific outcome, understanding what is potentially available could be useful moving forward. The major categories of wrongful death compensation include:
Economic damages describe the objective financial losses that result from an untimely death. The purpose of economic damages is to return the surviving relatives to the financial position they would have been in had their loved one not died. It is possible to quantify these losses using documentary evidence like invoices and receipts. Because these damages are measurable, it is possible to identify the amount of economic compensation owed in these cases down to the last dollar. Some of the most common examples of economic damages include:
- The decedent’s final medical expenses prior to their passing
- Funeral costs
- Burial costs
- Lost income your loved one would have earned
Non-economic damages are not related to the financial losses your family has suffered due to the death of your loved one. Instead, this type of compensation is related to those subjective, hard-to-measure losses that can come with an unexpected death. These damages relate to the emotional hardship suffered by the family as well as the loss of companionship that they now experience. This type of compensation could also be based on the pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before their passing.
The third type of compensation that could be available in a wrongful death action is punitive damages. These damages do not exist to help the family recoup their financial losses. They also do not compensate survivors for the hardships they experienced. Instead, these damages are entirely punitive in nature. Their purpose is to dissuade anyone else from engaging in the same risky or dangerous behavior that resulted in your loved one’s death.
Punitive damages are not always available. They are limited to cases with egregious circumstances that involved malicious or intentional acts. Although intended to punish the at-fault party for their behavior, this type of compensation is still payable to the surviving family members.
Winter Haven Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me 863-250-5050
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful deaths happen in a wide variety of ways. Many of these deaths occur as the result of motor vehicle accidents, which, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, results in more than 3,000 deaths annually. However, collisions are only one common cause of wrongful deaths in Winter Haven. Other examples include:
- Medical mistakes
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Sports injuries
- Product liability
Understanding common wrongful death causes is only the first step toward pursuing a case for compensation. When you work with an experienced attorney, you could rely on their experience and skill to advise you on the other important aspects of your case.
An Attorney Could Help You Pursue Your Wrongful Death Action
If you are living with the loss of a loved one, a civil lawsuit is likely not at the forefront of your mind. These cases can provide much-needed financial support, however, as well as the potential for a sense of justice. When you work with an attorney, you have the chance to focus on dealing with your grief instead of worrying about the details of a lawsuit.
The team at Dismuke Law is ready to provide you with compassionate advocacy during this difficult time. To learn more about how a Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer could help, reach out right away for a free consultation.