How to Prove Wrongful Death in Florida
As the name suggests, proving a wrongful death claim requires the deceased’s personal representative to prove the death was caused by a wrongful act. That can include negligence, default, breach of contract, or a breach of warranty. Further, the claim must prove the deceased individual would have been entitled to personal injury awards if they survived the incident.
With that in mind, proving a wrongful death claim isn’t always easy. It requires a proven Florida wrongful death attorney’s knowledge, experience, and savvy in many cases. At Schrier Law Group, our attorneys have more than four decades of experience successfully recovering damages for personal injury and wrongful death claims.
We’re confident that we can help you and your family obtain the best possible outcome in your case. If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the wrongful acts of a person or entity, your family deserves maximum compensation for their death.
Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in Florida you can trust. Continue reading to learn how to prove wrongful death in Florida.
What You Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim
Generally, wrongful death claimants must prove three elements; duty of care, a breached duty of care, and causation of death. If these three elements can’t be proven, it’s unlikely that you will win a wrongful death case. Learn more about each below.
Duty of Care
Like personal injury cases, the deceased’s estate must prove the defendant owed them a duty of care. A duty of care can be defined as a legal obligation requiring individuals and entities to provide reasonable care to avoid injuring others. Examples of parties that owe others a duty of care include:
- Motor vehicle drivers
- Product manufacturers
- Healthcare providers
- Business owners
If the defendant’s actions are contrary to the duty of care, it can be considered negligence. Death resulting from their negligence can be the basis for wrongful death claims.
A Breached Duty of Care
In addition to proving the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care, the plaintiff must also prove they breached that duty. For example, if a loved one was killed in a car accident, the plaintiff must prove that the death was caused by recklessness, speeding, distracted driving, inattention, etc. That duty of care extends to many other areas like healthcare, product manufacture, law enforcement, business owners, and much more.
The Cause of Death
In addition to the section above, your Florida wrongful death attorney must prove the defendant’s negligent actions (or inaction) were a direct cause of the deceased person’s death.
Proving a breached duty of care often requires the knowledge and experience of a proven wrongful death attorney. Your attorney can investigate the facts of your case, identify critical witnesses, enlist the services of expert witnesses, and much more.
What is The Statute of Limitations For Wrongful Death Claims in Florida?
Generally, the deceased’s family must file a Florida wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death. However, there are exceptions. For example:
- Medical Malpractice – wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the time of the incident that caused the death or within two years from when the wrongful action was discovered.
- Murder Cases – Since murder and homicide investigations can sometimes take years or months to conclude, the clock on wrongful death statute of limitations for these cases doesn’t start until law enforcement and prosecutors identify the responsible party.
- Government Agencies – Suppose a government agency or entity is to blame for your loved one’s death. In that case, the statute of limitations is extended to four years. That’s because wrongful death claims against government entities are a much more complicated process, typically requiring more time.
If you don’t file a wrongful death claim within the Florida statute of limitations, you may lose your right to pursue damages.
With that in mind, you must file your wrongful death claim on time and correctly to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact the best wrongful death attorneys in Florida at The Schrier Law Group to discuss the merits of your case today.
Contact The Schrier Law Group Today
Pursuing a wrongful death claim without a competent attorney is not recommended. It’s challenging to handle the loss of a loved one and attempt to understand Florida’s complicated wrongful death laws simultaneously.
The wrongful death lawyers at Schrier Law Group are here to help you navigate the legal process while you grieve. Contact us today for your free initial consultation with an attorney you can trust.
FLORIDA WORKMAN’S COMPENSATION: MAN DIES AFTER BEING BULLDOZED WHILE USING A PORTA-POTTY
Recently, Aaron Henderson, a landfill traffic controller, was killed by a bulldozer while in a porta-potty. According to the reports, the bulldozer driver traveled up a hill to the landfill at night. While driving, the front blade of the bulldozer partially obstructed his vision due to the angle and height.
As a result, the driver accidentally bulldozed a porta-potty that he did not see. Once he heard the crumbling metal and plastic, he stopped his vehicle, but it was already too late for Aaron Henderson by that time.
The operator quickly jumped out of his vehicle to check the porta-potty for occupants. What he found was Mr. Henderson’s lifeless body inside. While this accident is tragic and heart-wrenching, similar workplace accidents resulting in death ( 4 – 5 thousand per year) happen far too often.
With that in mind, you may be wondering, “Is Aaron Henderson’s family eligible to sue for damages?” Continue reading to learn about Florida workman’s compensation laws and wrongful deaths at the workplace.
When Does Workman’s Compensation Handle a Workplace Accident?
Under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws, employers are mostly indemnified against personal injury lawsuits from employees. Instead, most workplace accident claims are handled and settled through the work comp process.
That includes cases that involve accidents like:
- Slip and falls
- Falling from heights
- Caught in-between
- Vehicle accidents and collisions
- Workplace violence
- And more.
It’s important to note that employees are typically unable to file a personal injury lawsuit against an employer for workplace injuries. However, an employee or their family can file a personal injury claim against third parties for injuries or wrongful deaths.
Understanding Workman’s Compensation Death Benefits
Worker’s compensation insurance covers injury and death. Generally, the deceased’s family, surviving spouse, or children can file a claim for death benefits up to 1 – 5 five years after the accident, depending on the circumstances. The worker’s compensation death benefit typically covers the following:
- Funeral expenses – Up to $7,500.
- Weekly payments – The surviving children, spouse, parents, or siblings may receive between 15 – 50% of the descendant’s wages.
- Educational benefits – A surviving spouse may be entitled to receive tuition payments for up to 1,800 hours of study at a career center or up to 80 hours for community college.
Generally, the worker’s compensation death benefit terminates once $150,000 (or less) is paid out to the dependants.
When Can an Employer Be Sued?
Employers can rarely (if ever) be sued for wrongful death at the workplace. However, suppose your family member suffered a wrongful death due to a third-party while on the job. In that case, you may be eligible to file a death benefits claim under worker’s compensation laws and a personal injury suit against a negligent or reckless third party.
Examples of third-parties that can face a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Third-party contractors or employees
- The property owner where the wrongful death occurred
- Manufacturers of defective products or equipment
Taking the example of Aaron Henderson, suppose a third-party contractor employed the bulldozer operator. In that case, Mr. Henderson’s family may be eligible to file a claim for the worker’s compensation death benefit and file a wrongful death claim against the third-party employer.
However, if they do suspect negligence or recklessness, they will need an experienced attorney for workman’s compensation and wrongful death claims on their side.
What To Do If Your Loved One Suffers a Wrongful Death
If your loved one has been killed while on the job, we recommend consulting with a proven workman’s compensation lawyer as soon as possible. A workman’s comp attorney can:
- Provide valuable insights into workman’s compensation laws regarding wrongful death
- Advise you on when to accept, reject, or negotiate work comp benefit claims
- File a workman’s compensation claim and wrongful death claim simultaneously
- Seek maximum compensation for your loses
It’s important to note that eligible surviving family members must file workman’s compensation death benefit claims and third-party personal injury claims within the statute of limitations. The sooner you contact an attorney about your case, the sooner they can get to work securing maximum compensation for you and your family.
Contact Schrier Law Group Today
The sudden death of a loved one can be devastating emotionally, physically, and financially. At Schrier Law Group, our worker’s compensation and wrongful death lawyers understand that no amount of money will replace your family member.
However, we also understand that you deserve to be compensated for the deceased’s lost income, financial support, love, etc. Our attorneys are compassionate, thoughtful, and aggressive. We won’t stop working until we get the best possible outcome in your case.
How Do You Recover After the Wrongful Death of a Loved One?
If your loved one was killed because of another party’s negligence, you may be able to bring a wrongful death case. In Florida, not everyone can bring a wrongful death claim or file a wrongful death lawsuit. There is a specific Florida Statute that lists those who are authorized to file a wrongful death case.
If you want to be compensated for the tragic, avoidable, and wrongful death of a loved one, it is important that you do not wait until it is too late to retain an attorney to pursue monetary compensation for your loss. Contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer at Schrier Law Group today for a free case review.
What is Considered a Wrongful Death in Florida?
Florida statute 768.19 states that wrongful death happens when someone dies as a result of a separate person’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.”
In other words, a wrongful death occurs when someone passes away because of the fault of another party. Here are a few examples of wrongful death scenarios:
- a negligence-based incident
- medical malpractice
- a defective product
- an intentional or criminal act
Who Can Sue for A Wrongful Death in Florida?
In most states, a deceased person’s relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, Florida statute 768.20 indicates that only the personal representative, appointed for the estate of the deceased, can file a wrongful death case for the specific family members who can recover.
The personal representative is also referred to as the executor of the estate. The individual who files a wrongful death claim or case acts on behalf of the decedent’s estate. While filing the case, the estate executor or Personal Representative must also submit a list of potential beneficiaries.
These primary beneficiaries may include:
- The deceased’s spouse
- The deceased’s children
- The deceased’s parents
Minor children of the decedent are legally defined as those under the age of 25. They are generally entitled to recover more significant damages than those adult children 25 and over. One of the reasons being that many children under the age of 25 are often dependent upon the decedent for support.
Other dependents and/or family members of the decedent may also recover damages, but there are specific requirements that must be met. There are many intricacies involved in handling Florida wrongful death cases. That is why it is so important that various family members take advantage of the Free Consultations offered by most law firms that handle wrongful death cases. Of course, it would be prudent to speak with a highly experienced lawyer and one who is extremely knowledgeable about all of the family member’s rights under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute.
The attorneys at Schrier Law Group will ensure that every family member who is entitled to monetary compensation will be protected. Justice for you and your family starts now by placing a call to Schrier Law Group at (800) 700-7285 or (800) 700-PAUL.
What is the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Case?
The statute of limitations, referenced in the Florida Wrongful Death Statute, is two years. That means that one must generally file their claim or bring their case within two years from the date of the wrongful death, or they will most likely lose their right to ever bring a case. However, there are often pre-suit notice requirements that must be met prior to the expiration of the two-year Statute of Limitations. However, every case is different and must be determined based on the law governing the specific case at hand.
While the loss of a loved one brings on the most challenging time in our lives, it is also a time where it is unfortunately imperative to seek out the advice of an attorney who is of the highest caliber, an extremely experienced attorney who understands what you are going through and an attorney who you trust to protect and to preserve your right to bring a case under Florida’s Wrongful Death Laws.
Failure to adhere to all of the requirements regarding the Statute of Limitations under the Florida wrongful death Statute could very well prohibit the decedent’s personal representative from recovering lawful compensation for the victims, who are suffering and who should be the lawful appropriate beneficiaries under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute.
Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
Wrongful death cases could be caused by many of the following common factors and situations:
- Defective, poorly designed, and mislabeled products have, all too often, caused wrongful deaths. When products are poorly designed, assembled, or manufactured, and the carelessness contributes to or causes an avoidable death of a loved one, a lawsuit may be filed against the at-fault party.
- Automobile accidents can result in devastating consequences and even tragic deaths. In fact, auto accidents are one of the most common events that lead to the filing of wrongful death cases in Florida. If an accident occurs because of poor highway or road conditions and the poor conditions were caused by a lack of maintenance or a defect that was known by or should have been known by a municipality, there is a chance that the city, county, or the state of Florida may be responsible for the family member’s damages under the wrongful death statute.
- Medical malpractice does take place, despite the fact that most healthcare professionals usually provide excellent care. Unfortunately, no one is perfect, and mistakes do occur. When a physician’s misdiagnoses or negligent error causes the death of a loved one, it can result in the family member’s right to recover monetary compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one.
- Workplace hazards are obviously vastly different, depending on the industry that one works within. There are many occupations that pose risks, which are not taken seriously enough or which are not up to Federal or State safety standards. In certain situations, employers can be held responsible for paying damages in a wrongful death negligence case and also avoid certain protections that worker’s compensation cases may provide, even if an accident & resulting death occurs while the decedent was working.
- Intentional criminal actions can lead to criminal and civil proceedings. Families may sue the responsible offenders in a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the offenders were either acquitted, never changed with a crime, or imprisoned.
Potential Wrongful Death Damages in Florida
If you are successful in bringing a wrongful death case, the Jury or Court will generally order the defendant to pay monetary damages for the following:
- Loss of the support and services that the deceased provided
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
- Medical and funeral expenses
In Survivor Actions, the deceased person’s estate may recover certain damages, including lost wages, other benefits, as well as earnings from the date of your loved one’s injury to the date of their death.
Contact a Proven Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Wrongful death case law is constantly evolving, and changes can lead to confusion and what appears to be, conflicting rulings by our Courts. If you are thinking about filing a wrongful death case in Florida, it is wise to consider consulting with a skilled personal injury & wrongful death attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer will generally be able to explain how the most up-to-date wrongful death laws apply to your specific situation.
An adept wrongful death lawyer can advocate for your rights, thoroughly investigate your case, and either go to trial on your behalf or negotiate a settlement with the defense for maximum compensation.
At Schrier Law Group, our Florida elite personal injury and wrongful death attorneys are here to assist you & your family members so that you receive the most potential compensation for your case. While money is never the complete answer, and we often want justice from the negligent party who took our loved one from us. The legal teams in Schrier Law Group will work tirelessly to recover everything possible within the bounds of Florida Law. We have the resources and the necessary skills to win your wrongful death cases, and you will never pay our law firm fees or costs until we win your case. We also offer compassionate assistance and strive to make you feel comforted throughout the legal process.
Contact Schrier Law Group today for a Free Case Review. We can be reached 24 hours, 7 days per week, at (800) 700-PAUL. Don’t be fooled by others. Get the money that you deserve for your loss.