Tampa Area Wrongful Death
If a loved one has died because of someone else’s actions, you may have a case for wrongful death.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs if someone dies because of another person or entity’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract.” These acts could include:
- a vehicle accident, including watercraft and aircraft
- dangerous roadways
- defective products
- medical malpractice that results in the death
- exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
- criminal behavior
- death during a supervised activity
Florida also has a law to prevent “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” If someone commits suicide because of the emotional distress, you may have a case for wrongful death. The complaint must include all of the following elements:
- deliberate or reckless infliction of mental suffering
- outrageous conduct that caused
- emotional distress
- the distress was severe
Civil Vs Legal Lawsuit
If the person died as the result of a criminal action, the state brings the legal lawsuit against the defendant. The personal representative (appointed by the court) brings the wrongful death lawsuit. The evidence is similar, but the level of proof is different. The defendant does not need to be found guilty of a crime to be liable in a wrongful death case.
Who Brings a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The personal representative brings the lawsuit on behalf of
- the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents
- spouses may have a case for loss of consortium
- children are generally minors, not adults
- parents are generally of minors, not adult children
- any blood relative or adoptive sibling dependent on the deceased person for support or services
If a child is born to unmarried parents, the child may recover damages for the mother’s wrongful death. The father must formally recognize the relationship and be obligated for support for the child to recover damages for the father’s death.
If you have a case for wrongful death, you must file it within two years of the date of death. Under limited and specific circumstances, the deadline can be extended or “tolled.” It is very important to speak with a personal injury attorney, like Brian Hoag, as quickly as possible.
Hopefully, you will never need the legal services of a Tampa personal injury lawyer, but if you do, please give Hoag Law Firm a call or complete your online Free Case Evaluation. A free consultation can help you understand your rights. With honest advice and an experienced attorney at your side, you can recover the largest possible settlement and get back to living your life.