Wrongful Death Attorney in Florida
The loss of a loved one or family member can be devastating. That’s especially true if your family member lost their life due to a preventable act of recklessness or negligence.
Money is not the most important consideration after the passing of a loved one. However, filing a wrongful death suit and recovering damages can help you and your family emotionally heal and financially stabilize.
If a loved one died due to negligence or carelessness, you and your family deserve maximum compensation. Contact Schrier Law Group at 1-800-700-PAUL to speak with a wrongful death attorney today.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit According to Florida?
According to Florida Statutes 768.19 – 768.20, a deceased individual’s personal representative can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of immediate relatives.
A wrongful death lawsuit allows family members of the deceased to seek compensatory damages from the at-fault business or individual for negligent behavior that led to wrongful death.
For example, if a person suffers a wrongful death due to careless electrical wiring in their home, their landlord may be liable. Wrongful death suits are civil matters. However, depending on the circumstances, the defendant(s) may still face criminal prosecution.
Generally, wrongful death claims involve acts that are negligent, reckless, and/or intentional. Learn more about each below.
To prove negligence, your wrongful death attorney must first establish that the defendant had a “duty of care” in the situation where the death occurred.
A duty of care is a legal obligation of an individual or organization to avoid certain acts or omissions of acts that can reasonably be understood to cause harm to another person.
A wrongful death attorney must demonstrate how the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care as well as how that act or lack thereof led to death. Parties who are subject to provide a reasonable duty of care include but are not limited to:
- Health care professionals
- Property owners
- Tour guides
- Individuals involved in accidents
- Transportation services
Reckless conduct includes unintentionally risky acts that disregard the well-being of others. Generally, an act is only considered reckless if the person who commits it knew or should have known that their actions would likely lead to injury or death. For example, spitting gasoline on an open flame to impress friends could be considered reckless if it leads to wrongful death.
Most intentional acts of murder are prosecuted criminally. However, defendants may still face a wrongful death lawsuit brought on behalf of the deceased family. If your family member was murdered, it’s in your best interest to consult with a wrongful death attorney who understands both criminal and civil procedures.
Causes of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death can occur anywhere. The most common wrongful death lawsuits involve hospitals, physicians, car accidents, defective products, and more.
If your family member lost their life due to avoidable circumstances, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven wrongful death attorney to discuss the merits of your case. Consulting with an attorney before filing a personal injury claim can save you time, money, and a lot of confusion.
Continue reading to learn more about the most common causes of wrongful death in Florida.
Suppose a licensed physician fails to accurately diagnose a fatal condition that subsequently causes their patient to die. Under Florida’s medical malpractice laws, the survivors may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against:
- The hospital
- Physician’s assistant
- Other medical care providers involved
Further, acts of negligence like neglecting to provide reasonable care to a patient who dies may be considered medical malpractice as well. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex, lengthy, and notoriously challenging without the help of a proven wrongful death attorney.
Motor vehicle accidents
If a person negligently operates a motor vehicle and it results in death, they can be sued for wrongful death in Florida. Common examples of negligent driving include but are not limited to drunk driving, running red lights, drag racing on public roads, etc.
Airplane, train, bus, boat, or other transportation-related accidents
Captains, pilots, and transportation companies sometimes make deadly mistakes. If your loved one lost their life due to carelessness or negligence on behalf of a transportation company, you might be eligible to sue for wrongful death in Florida.
Criminal attacks can be prosecuted criminally as well as civilly. If someone intentionally kills another person, they may be responsible for monetary damages in addition to any criminal penalties levied against them.
Criminal attacks that lead to unintentional death, like an armed robbery gone wrong or killing someone while fleeing the scene of a crime, can still be eligible for a wrongful death claim.
It’s important to note that the criminal and civil cases are dealt with separately. That means that a criminal conviction doesn’t always lead to a successful civil case, and vice versa.
Federal and state laws require commercial products to be safe for consumer use. If a defective product causes death, the company that sold, manufactured, or distributed the product may be liable for compensatory damages.
Generally, product defects that can lead to a wrongful death claim in Florida include:
- Products with defective designs
- Products with manufacturing defects
- Products with marketing defects
Proving liability for wrongful death due to defective products can be a challenging process. That’s especially true if you don’t have an attorney. Working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you determine fault and pursue damages from the at-fault party.
Explosions at home, at work, or in public might be the result of negligence or carelessness. Individuals who suffer a wrongful death due to an explosion on an oil rig, gas line, pipeline, or oil tanker may be victims of careless activities.
Food poisoning doesn’t just cause a bad stomach ache. In extreme cases, food poisoning can lead to death. For example, suppose a head chef at a restaurant stores cooked meat with uncooked meat. A customer eats at the restaurant, and as a result of unsanitary practices, they die from food poisoning. In that case, the restaurant may be liable in a wrongful death suit.
Failure to keep property safe (dangerous conditions on someone’s property)
Wrongful death due to property negligence happens more often than you might think. In general, property owners must provide reasonably safe conditions for inhabitants and guests. If they neglect to do so, and their negligence leads to death, they may be liable.
Common examples of unsafe conditions in wrongful death premises liability cases include but are not limited to:
- Failure to adequately clear ice or snow hazards
- Animal attacks
- Lack of reasonably adequate security
- Chemical leaks
- Accidents on stairs, elevators, or escalators
- Slip and fall accidents
Work-related exposure to dangerous conditions or substances
Exposure to dangerous chemicals or conditions doesn’t just happen on construction sites. It can happen anywhere. If an employer doesn’t provide adequate training, safety equipment, or a safe environment, they may be liable for deaths resulting from their negligence.
Most work-related accidents that involve exposure to dangerous chemicals or conditions are covered under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws. However, if the wrongful death of an employee occurred due to the negligence of a third party, that person’s estate can potentially pursue a wrongful death claim.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
Proving wrongful death typically involves meeting the same burden of proof requirements that the victim would have if they were still alive. With that in mind, a Florida wrongful death attorney can help:
- Interpret and apply Florida personal injury and wrongful death laws
- Negotiate a settlement on your family’s behalf
- Pursue maximum compensatory damages for the loss of your loved one
Further, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can be beneficial if you and your family face the following consequences resulting from the avoidable death of your loved one.
- Loss of future financial support
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of the victim’s love, companionship, comfort, affection, protection, and moral support
- Loss of consortium (a spouse may sue for loss of the romantic/sexual relationship)
- Loss of the victim’s care and guidance as a parent
- Costs of funeral and burial expenses
Individuals and families pursuing compensation for wrongful death are not required to hire an attorney. However, failing to do so can lead to failed litigation efforts, wasted time, lowball settlement offers, and more.
Contact Schrier Injury Law Today About Your Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death claims are among the most challenging types of personal injury cases. At Schrier Law Group, our wrongful death attorneys are compassionate, experienced, and determined to recover maximum compensation for your family’s loss.
If you’ve lost a family member or loved one due to reckless or careless actions of another person or organization, we can help. Contact Schrier Law Group today for your free initial consultation.