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If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a third party’s negligence, the Franchi Law team understands the deep emotional pain you are experiencing.
Why Choose Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Riverview?
Our lead attorney William Franchi is here to help you navigate the legal process and fight for your right to compensation on behalf of your deceased loved one. We are committed to providing personalized attention, proactive communication, and skilled legal representation to help you through this difficult time.
We’re always here to answer questions and help you navigate your grief in our free, no-obligation wrongful death consultation and case review. Call us at 831-800-4Law or book your appointment online today.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is defined in Florida statute as “when the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person cause the death of a person.
When a third party is found to be negligent, and the victim of said negligence dies, that can create an opportunity for an eligible family member to file a civil case against that person. To be eligible to bring that lawsuit, a family member must be listed as an eligible personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
For example, if the following situations occurred and they caused the death of the victim, then they could yield a wrongful death case:
- Car Accident
- Truck Accident
- 18-Wheeler or Semi Accident
- Bus Accident
- Pedestrian Accident
- Bicycle Accident
- Motorcycle Accident
- Uber or Lyft Accident
- Premises Liability-Related Accident
- Medical Malpractice
Additionally, homicide and murder are also considered wrongful deaths. This can mean that a grieving family can bring a civil case against a defendant for a murder that is also being tried in a criminal court.
Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions
After the loss of a loved one, understanding the legal avenues available is essential for families seeking justice and compensation. Both wrongful death and survival actions offer means to pursue legal recourse, but they serve different purposes and address different damages
Understanding Survival Actions
A survival action involves the legal claims that could have been made by the individual who passed away. If the decedent had survived, he or she might have pursued personal injury claims due to pain, suffering, medical expenses, and other costs incurred from the liable party’s negligence. Instead, following the decedent’s passing, these rights to claim are preserved
Specifically, under Section 46.021 of the Florida Statutes, these claims survive the death of the plaintiff. The person bringing forth the survival action is typically the individual appointed by the probate court to act as the decedent’s personal representative. This representative often also serves as the administrator of the decedent’s estate
Survival actions focus on the pain and suffering directly linked to the decedent’s death rather than the subsequent losses experienced by the family. For example, if the deceased suffered considerably before his or her death, he or she may have a stronger case for a survival action. Additionally, damages may be awarded to compensate for lost wages between injury and death and any medical expenses prior to death.
Any compensation won in a survival action is channeled through the decedent’s estate. This makes it distinct from wrongful death lawsuits, where the compensation is allocated directly to family members.
Defining Wrongful Death in Florida
A wrongful death lawsuit is built upon the legal rights of the surviving family members, not necessarily those of the deceased. Survivors have the right to pursue compensation for any damages that arise from their loss, such as the loss of companionship, financial support, or other tangible and intangible supports. The defendant’s negligence, leading to the death of their loved one, has curtailed these benefits and caused harm.
Understanding the Florida Wrongful Death Act
The structure and details of a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida are laid out in the Florida Wrongful Death Act, covered in Sections 768.16 through 768.26 of the Florida Statutes. This Act outlines:
- Who is eligible to file a claim
- The timeframe within which a claim can be initiated
- The types of financial damages recoverable
- Other specific procedural requirements and details
Florida’s wrongful death statute is a crucial tool for surviving family members who have lost a loved one due to negligence. This law establishes that if the deceased had a personal injury claim while alive, a personal representative can now pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of his or her survivors. These actions frequently arise in cases where people die due to accidents, medical malpractice, or even intentional harm.
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, survivors may include:
- The decedent’s spouse
- Children of the decedent
- The decedent’s parents
- Blood relatives and adopted siblings dependent on the deceased for support or services
- Children born outside of marriage, specifically for mothers or for fathers if they took on the responsibility of support
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims can arise from a variety of scenarios where negligence or misconduct leads to fatal injuries. In many cases, it’s helpful to think of wrongful death as a personal injury case where the deceased is unable to represent himself or herself in court.
One of the most frequent causes of wrongful deaths is motor vehicle collisions. In these situations, the negligence of one driver can result in severe injuries or death for the other parties involved. In many cases, high-speed, impaired, or distracted driving can lead to a traffic fatality.
Likewise, pedestrian and bicycle accidents also constitute a significant portion of wrongful death cases. Typically, these incidents occur due to a motorist’s negligence in observing traffic rules, yielding the right of way, or paying adequate attention to the road. If you’ve been in a collision, contact our car accident lawyers in Riverview today.
Defective and Dangerous Products
In some instances, defective products can lead to wrongful death. If a product is inherently dangerous, improperly labeled, or incorrectly manufactured, it can cause serious, sometimes fatal harm to the consumer. From faulty appliances to hazardous pharmaceuticals, the range of products that can potentially cause death is vast.
Accidents on Someone Else’s Property
Premises liability cases often contribute to wrongful death claims. In these situations, a property owner fails to maintain his or her property to a safe standard, leading to accidents and fatalities. These hazards can include anything from inadequate security to dangerous conditions like wet floors or poor lighting.
Nursing Home Abuse
With an aging population, more people are placed in the care of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. When these facilities fail in their duty of care, it can lead to severe harm and death. Caregivers can neglect their residents, physically harm them, withhold necessary medical care, and commit a host of abusive acts that can result in wrongful death.
How Do I Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?
To establish a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. There are four critical elements that you and your attorney will need to prove:
- Duty of Care: First, you will need to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. This can range from the responsibility of a driver to adhere to traffic rules to the duty of a manufacturer to produce safe products.
- Breach of Duty: Next, the defendant must have breached his or her duty of care in some way. This could be through a negligent act, such as reckless driving, or an omission, such as failing to properly maintain safe premises.
- Causation: Thirdly, causation must be established. You will need to gather enough evidence to link the breach of duty directly to your loved one’s wrongful death. This often requires comprehensive evidence, expert testimony, and a strong legal argument.
- Damages: Finally, you must demonstrate damages suffered by the deceased’s survivors and estate. This can include the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased’s dependents as well as economic damages, such as lost income and funeral expenses.
Who Can File for a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In Florida, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is required to file a wrongful death claim. The representative acts on behalf of both the estate and any surviving family members. All potential beneficiaries must be listed when filing the lawsuit, ensuring that all those affected by the death have an opportunity to seek justice and compensation.
The deceased will have typically named the personal representative in his or her will. If your loved one did not leave a will behind, the court can appoint a personal representative on his or her behalf.
How Can a Riverview Wrongful Death Attorney Help with My Claim?
If you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you and your family deserve justice. By pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can hold the at-fault party accountable for this unspeakable loss, but the process can be very complex.
In these situations, a Riverview wrongful death lawyer from Franchi can guide your family through your claim, advocating for your right to fair compensation. Our lawyers can benefit your case in several ways, from evaluating your potential settlement to providing emotional support and guidance.
Our lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience with wrongful death cases. This equips us to navigate the complex legal landscape of your claim, applying legal theories and statutes relevant to your case. We will leverage our expertise to make sure that your case is presented robustly, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
In-Depth Investigation and Evidence Gathering
At Franchi Law Firm, we meticulously investigate every detail of your case. This involves examining accident scenes, collecting medical reports, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts who can testify on your behalf. This rigorous approach allows us to gather the substantial evidence required to prove the defendant’s negligence and seek justice for the wrongful death.
Representation in Court and Negotiations
Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who represent you fiercely in and out of court. We can handle communications with insurance companies and defense lawyers, protecting your rights and best interests during any and all settlement negotiations. If your case goes to trial, our attorneys will present a compelling case in the courtroom, advocating for your family’s right to compensation.
Compassionate Support and Guidance
Losing a loved one is devastating, and legal procedures can often add to this stress. Our attorneys understand this on a deep level and provide compassionate emotional support throughout every stage of your claim. We will handle the legal process on your behalf so that your family can focus on healing and remembering your loved one.
Determining who is at fault in a wrongful death case can be complicated. Our lawyers have the time and expertise to analyze the evidence, determine how the incident happened, and pinpoint the liable party. By establishing liability, you can hold the responsible party accountable for his or her action.
Calculation of Potential Compensation
A crucial aspect of any wrongful death claim is determining the potential compensation owed to your family and loved one’s estate. Our lawyers will carefully consider the financial and non-financial impacts of your loss to accurately calculate the potential settlement. This includes expenses such as funeral costs and medical bills, loss of income, and non-economic damages like emotional distress and loss of companionship.
Florida Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations
While some states across the country may have specific statutes that would increase the amount of time someone would have to bring for instances of wrongful death, that is not the case for Florida.
For Floridians who have experienced a wrongful death in the family, the estate’s personal representative only has two years from the time of death to file a lawsuit, according to the wrongful death statute of limitations.
What Can My Wrongful Death Suit in Riverview Help Recover?
The estate’s personal representative must ensure that all eligible surviving family members are listed in the claim.
Whether the suit is settled or taken to trial, a wrongful death suit can pay for the following damages:
- Unpaid Medical Bills: If medical treatment was provided before the person’s passing, those expenses may be included in the claim.
- Funeral Expenses: The costs incurred for funeral and burial arrangements can be claimed.
- Lost Wages and Benefits: If the deceased was a primary income earner, the family may seek compensation for the lost financial support, including wages and benefits.
- Lost Future Earning Potential: The family can seek compensation for the income the deceased would have earned in the future had the tragedy not occurred.
- Pain and Suffering: While no amount of money can replace a loved one, seeking damages for the pain and suffering caused can provide some relief.
- Loss of Companionship: The emotional impact of losing a loved one’s companionship and guidance can be included in the compensation sought.
Offering Compassionate Legal Support For You In Your Family’s Wrongful Death Case in Riverview
Losing a loved one is one of life’s most tragic and painful experiences, and the grief can be overwhelming. When someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing causes the death of a loved one, the pain is compounded by a sense of injustice.
At Franchi Law, our law firm understands the devastating impact of wrongful death on a family, and we are committed to helping clients get justice and compensation for their loss. Our compassionate and experienced team is here to help you through this time and do everything in our power to make things right.
Book a consultation with our Riverview wrongful death attorney with the Franchi Law team by calling 813-800-4LAW or submitting your request online.