A family dealing with the loss of one of its own has countless worries. Although legal action is likely not a priority, it may be important for the family to consult an attorney depending on the circumstances of the decedent’s death. The family of a person killed by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person or company may have a legal claim, which can help pay bills and replace lost income. Floridians from West Palm Beach, Coral Springs, and Davie have relied on the Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys of Cecere Santana, PA to help them through tough times.
A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Requires an Underlying Claim
The family of a person killed by the wrongdoing of another person or company can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida court. Such a claim relies on an underlying cause of action that alleges the defendant’s specific wrongdoing. One example is negligence.
Proving a negligence lawsuit requires showing three elements: A duty owed to the decedent, a breach of the duty owed, and proximate causation. Proving the necessary elements of the case entitles the wrongful death plaintiffs to damages.
Negligence is simply one cause of action that the wrongful death plaintiffs may plead, depending on the circumstances of the case. If the decedent was killed because of a hazardous condition on property owned by another person, the lawsuit would allege a premises liability claim. One major exception is that if the decedent was killed at work, the family may be limited to filing a worker’s compensation claim, rather than a lawsuit against the employer. Be sure to consult an experienced attorney, who can help you determine the best course of action for your family.
In the event that a personal injury suit was filed before the decedent passed, the family of the decedent can still file a wrongful death claim. In Florida, unlike other states, once the plaintiff dies, his personal injury claim is extinguished; only the wrongful death lawsuit may move forward.
Damages Are Available to the Decedent’s Relatives
The Florida Statutes, at § 768.21, outline the people who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Generally, the spouse, children, and parents of the decedent are entitled to be named as plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition, any blood relative or adoptive sibling who depended financially on the decedent also has a claim. Finally, the decedent’s estate, through a personal representative, also has an interest in the suit.
All plaintiffs to the suit are entitled to certain damages, and others are available only to specific parties. Damages available to all plaintiffs include:
- Loss of support and services from the time of the decedent’s death to the present, plus interest
- The present-day value of future lost support and services
- Funeral and medical expenses if any beneficiary has paid them.
Further, the spouse, children, parents, and estate of the decedent are all entitled to damages unique to them. For example, a spouse can recover compensation for loss of companionship and protection as well as psychological pain and suffering. If you have specific questions about the damages available to you, consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
We’re Here for You in Tough Times
If you have lost a loved family member too soon because of the wrongdoing of someone else, you have enough to worry about. A Fort Lauderdale injury attorney from Cecere Santana can take on the task of pursuing compensation your family may need, leaving you to spend time with those who truly matter. To schedule time to speak with a lawyer, call 800-753-5529 or visit our contact page. Our consultations are always free and completely confidential.