While loss is a natural part of life, losing a loved one is never easy, especially when their death is caused by another party.
If you’ve lost a loved one as a result of someone’s negligent or intentional actions, a wrongful death lawsuit can help cover the costs associated with your loss. Rely on a wrongful death lawyer to build a strong claim on your behalf and seek the fairest possible outcome.
What Is a Wrongful Death Case?
When you lose a loved one at the hands of another party, you may have a valid claim for wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. However, instead of the victim themselves collecting compensation for their injuries, the victim’s family can recover financially.
Because an untimely death can cause so much pain and financial distress, wrongful death claims allow the family of a victim to pursue justice and monetary recovery.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Every state provides different provisions for wrongful death lawsuits, including who can file the claim. In Florida, the victim’s personal representative must file the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s family.
A personal representative is the designated individual in charge of the victim’s estate. If the victim had an estate plan, they likely chose their personal representative; however, if there is no estate plan, and therefore no personal representative, the probate court can appoint one.
In the lawsuit, the personal representative must list the family members who are to benefit from the proceeds of the case, which could include a victim’s:
Additionally, any other individuals who relied on the victim financially could benefit from a wrongful death claim.
Building a Wrongful Death Claim
There are several moving parts to a wrongful death lawsuit. To build a strong case that is likely to result in a successful settlement or judgment, the following must be addressed:
First, your wrongful death lawyer must determine the victim’s cause of death. Figuring out what caused the victim to die can provide crucial answers regarding liability.
Wrongful death claims can arise for many different reasons, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Negligent security
Depending on the circumstances of the victim’s death, you can find out whether you have a valid wrongful death claim and if so, who is responsible for the death.
Proving liability is one of the most important parts of a wrongful death lawsuit. Without successfully establishing a party’s fault, it would be nearly impossible to pursue financial compensation.
Typically, wrongful death cases arise out of negligent or intentional actions, although negligence is the most common. When a party acts negligently, they fail to act in the same manner a similarly situated person would have acted.
Establishing negligence requires satisfying the necessary elements, including:
- Duty: The liable party owed a duty of care to the victim
- Breach: The liable party’s act or omission breached their duty of care
- Causation: The liable party’s act or omission was the actual and proximate cause of the victim’s death
- Damages: The victim’s death resulted in losses to the plaintiff
Several parties may also share liability for a victim’s death. If this is the case, you can collect damages from all at-fault parties based on their percentage of fault.
Determining the value of your case is critical in order to ensure that you receive the fairest possible compensation. Damages rest upon the details of the victim’s death and your losses and could include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship
- The victim’s healthcare expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- The victim’s pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Your wrongful death lawyer can thoroughly review the details of your case to calculate your damages. After assigning a monetary value to your case, your attorney can fight for your rights to compensation for your losses.
Evidence is needed to prove several details, including cause, liability, and damages.
Therefore, the more substantial your evidence, the stronger your case.
Some of the evidence that attorneys often use for wrongful death cases include:
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Photos and videos
- Witness statements
- Surveillance footage
- Expert testimony
The discovery phase in a lawsuit gives your wrongful death lawyer the opportunity to request and obtain any evidence they feel is necessary to build your case.
Consult with a Wrongful Death Lawyer Right Away
Wrongful death lawsuits can be stressful and tricky to navigate, but a skilled wrongful death lawyer can represent your best interests throughout the life of your case.
The attorneys at Schrier Law Group understand the difficulties of losing a loved one and want to help make it right. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.