Few things in life are as devastating and overwhelming as losing someone you love unexpectedly.
It could be even more tragic if you lost a loved one because of wrongful death.
The emotional and financial fallout could be even more complicated if the decedent were the family breadwinner. Suddenly, family members must scramble to avoid a financial pitfall.
If the decedent financially supported a household, their loved ones must suddenly figure out how to pay off debt, bills, etc. This could include the medical expenses of accident victims before they died.
If someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct resulted in the death of a family member, there might also be unquantifiable damage like pain and suffering and emotional turmoil. Florida has wrongful death laws and a legal process to hold the at-fault party responsible. The wrongful death lawyers at Fasig | Brooks are here to help you recover the money you need to keep financially stable. We will work hard to ease your burden after this tragedy.
When someone takes a life, they should be held accountable. While no amount of money can bring back the person you love, it can help address your financial stability, pay medical bills and funeral expenses, and make up for lost wages. Our wrongful death attorneys will also notify you of your legal rights while pursuing the maximum compensation you are legally entitled to.
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to Florida statutes 768.16-768.26, wrongful death occurs when one party causes injury to another party through reckless, negligent, or willfully malicious acts that result in a fatality.
The injured party’s survivors can pursue a Destin & Miramar Beach wrongful death claim when this occurs. Personal injury claims allow one to seek monetary compensation for expenses related to the accident. This compensation aims to restore a semblance to normal life as much as possible under the circumstances.
For example, if you cause injury to someone, they have the legal right to file a personal injury claim. If the injury is so severe that the victim dies, their family can file a Destin & Miramar Beach wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim.
Who Is Able to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Destin & Miramar Beach, FL?
Only a personal representative can file a wrongful death claim.
This covers persons who do not stand to benefit from the estate’s proceeds. When a will is made, a personal representative is often named. This person is in charge of administering the estate in the event of death. They are typically a friend or an attorney.
If no personal representative exists, then a judge will appoint one. Once the personal representative is named, Destin & Miramar Beach wrongful death attorneys can move forward with a wrongful death claim on behalf of the survivors.
People who can benefit from such a claim include:
- Children (including adopted children)
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Destin & Miramar Beach, FL
Every state has a different statute of limitations. In Florida, survivors have two years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
This means it is crucial to seek the legal services of experienced Destin & Miramar Beach wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible.
Wrongful death cases can be very involved and complex, and each step of the process can take some time. Delaying to file your lawsuit could result in dismissal by a judge, so contact Fasig | Brooks for a free case evaluation. During your initial consultation, our legal team will assess your case and start the process towards financial stability.
The Role of Wrongful Death Lawyers
To be successful, your lawyer must prove that your case has the elements of a wrongful death case.
This means gathering evidence and presenting it to the defendant’s insurance company and the court if needed.
There are four elements to these claims, including:
- The victim’s death was a result of the defendant’s actions
- The defendant’s actions were malicious, reckless, or negligent
- The victim’s death was harmful to the survivors
- The victim’s death caused financial and emotional hardship for the survivors
All these elements must be present for the case to continue. The first element is known as causation, which determines that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of death; if the death was not a result of their actions, then causation did not occur.
Common Wrongful Death Accidents
Common accidents and injuries that can lead to a wrongful death claim include:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Defective Products
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Boating Accidents
- Violent Crimes
- Hazardous Chemicals
Your wrongful death attorney can go over your case and help you determine your legal options.
Types of Damages You Can Recover
Survivors can recover financial compensation because of the wrongful actions of another person that caused the victim’s death. To be more specific, however, there are two categories in a wrongful death case: estate damages and survivor damages.
These types of damages are related to the property willed to beneficiaries, and include:
- Loss of the estate’s prospective accumulations
- Loss of income that would have amassed between the accident and event of death
- Medical and funeral expenses paid for by the decedent’s estate
These are all damages involving any estate value impacted by the accident. Beneficiaries of the estate have the legal right to recover these losses.
Survivors are protected by Florida Statute Section 768.21, which allows them to recover for the following:
- Loss of services: The daily actions and services of the decedent have a value that can be difficult to quantify. This includes running errands, cooking, fixing the house, mowing the lawn, taking care of the children, etc. All these services help ease the burden of running a household and family. When these services are lost, the survivors can suffer immense hardship. Therefore they can seek the value of such services.
- Loss of support: If the decedent was the breadwinner or contributed to the household, the loss of their financial aid can be a hardship. Your wrongful death attorney can help you calculate the monetary value of current and future support loss.
- Loss of parental support: These damages are granted to minors and dependent children. They lose more than financial support because they lose the love and guidance of their parent, but this kind of loss can be compensated.
- Pain and suffering: Spouses and children often file for the mental and emotional pain of losing their loved ones. Your attorney can help you determine the appropriate amount to quantify the emotional pain and suffering caused by the decedent’s death.
- Medical bills and funeral costs: Healthcare before the victim died and burial costs can be extensive and should be covered by the at-fault party.
Proving Liability In Your Wrongful Death Claim
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed their family member a duty of care. This legal doctrine is applicable in a variety of types of medical malpractice cases. The duty of care is a legal responsibility to act in a way that a reasonable person in a similar situation would have acted. For example:
- Drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists. Inebriated drivers breach the duty of care when they drive drunk.
- Construction site managers owe their employees a duty of care to provide them with a workspace that is free from dangerous hazards like electrocution, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and fall hazards. When they breach this duty and it leads to the tragic death of an employee, the property owner can be held responsible.
- There are many laws surrounding the practice of medicine and drug administration that healthcare professionals must abide by. A doctor or nurse’s missteps that led to serious injuries that killed a patient are a breach of their duty to do no harm.
- A pharmacist is responsible for ensuring that only the right medication at the right dose gets dispensed to the patient who needs it. When pharmacists don’t follow their duty of care, the resulting medical error could kill a person. The grief-stricken family deserves compensation from the pharmacist for their fatal mistake.
Valuable Resources To Help You Win
One of the resources that your personal injury attorney can provide you is access to expert witnesses, who are authorities in specialized fields and whose testimony can be used as evidence in your case. When a healthcare worker makes a decision that leads to a patient’s death, for example, then an expert witness, who is usually a medical professor, a researcher, or some other medical authority, can testify that any other healthcare professional in that same situation should have followed the standard course of action, and explain that standard.
An accident reconstructionist can describe how the defendant’s actions or inactions created the circumstances that led to the victim’s untimely death. Construction and architectural experts can all provide insight to the judge and jury that explains how and why the circumstances and injuries led to the victim’s death on a construction site. It is very hard for a grief-stricken family to pull together these resources on their own.
The attorneys at Fasig | Brooks will exhaust all of their resources to provide you with the tenacious advocacy that you need to obtain compensation for the wrongful death.
Contact Wrongful Death Attorneys in Destin & Miramar Beach, FL Today
All wrongful death cases are unique and require a thorough assessment by an experienced legal professional. The attorneys at Fasig | Brooks can help you determine if you have a good case. They will work to take the legal burden off your shoulders while you heal. We will fight to get the maximum legal compensation you are entitled to. Give us a call right away to begin your claim.