What you should do
Tampa Bay Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death lawsuit is a form of civil action and is unconnected to criminal charges, with the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit having no effect on a criminal matter and vice versa. Therefore, it is quite possible for someone to be found not guilty of murder charges but then consequently sued in civil court for wrongful death. According to the law in Florida, when someone’s death is caused by the unlawful act, negligence, or breach of contract, and, if that person would have otherwise lived, and that person would have had the legal right to sue for compensation in the form of damages, then there may be grounds for the filing of a wrongful death civil action.
Filing a lawsuit may not be a priority for those who have recently lost a loved one. However, it is vital for survivors of the recently deceased to consider hiring a lawyer well-versed in wrongful death lawsuits as soon as time allows. Families may face substantial emotional shock and may also face considerable economic complications without the financial support of the recently departed family member. The financial reimbursement provided by a lawsuit for wrongful death can help alleviate the monetary load. The unfair and very real actuality of these tragic circumstances is that one person, intentionally or unintentionally, may have caused someone else’s death. Regrettably, if the wrongdoer has no financial means to repay, and no insurance coverage, then there may not be any way to recover money in a civil lawsuit.
What Are Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death claims may arise from an simple mishap or because of the intentional act of another human being. Fatal automobile accidents, hospital malpractice that results in death, hazardous properties, faulty merchandise, and airplane calamities are examples of circumstances that may precede a wrongful death claim.
In wrongful death cases, law allows members of the immediate family of the deceased to file a wrongful death suit seeking pecuniary (monetary) compensation for the loss of their loved one. Survivors may initiate a claim to recover damages for:
- The lost emotional support and financial support
- The loss of a loved one’s companionship
- Mental anguish and emotional suffering
- The loss of a parental figure and the guidance and support of that parent
- Funeral and medical expenses paid by a survivor of the deceased
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows survivors of the deceased to seek compensation for the lost emotional support and companionship of a loved one. Survivors may include a spouse, children, parents, or other relatives or adoptive relatives that may be dependent on the descendent for emotional or financial support.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida
There is a time limit for filing wrongful death lawsuits in Florida; failure to file within this time limit can prohibit the potential claimant from ever seeking compensation for their losses. Once the statute of Limitations has been reached, lawsuits could no longer be filed and compensation can no longer be awarded. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years. Failure to file a claim or lawsuit within two years after a one passes away may permanently preclude you from filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. There are some uncommon circumstances that a wrongful death claim can be filed after the statute of limitations has been reached, however these situations are very rare.
Creditors and Claims on Wrongful Death Damages
Creditors may not be able to make a claim on wrongful death damages. This depends on how damages are awarded. Wrongful death damages that are awarded to the decedent’s estate can be claimed by creditors. Wrongful death damages awarded directly to the survivors of the family member cannot be claimed by creditors of the deceased.
Can I Sue For Punitive Damages?
In exceptional situations, you may also be permitted to seek punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. There must be extraordinary circumstances for the court to allow juries to hear potential evidence regarding the award of punitive damages. Keep in mind that punitive damages are not intended to reimburse for your losses. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for wrongdoing where it is clear that the defendant’s actions acutely caused the death of your loved one.
Hopefully, you will never be in a position in which you need the legal services of a Tampa personal injury lawyer that specializes in wrongful death, but in the event that you do, please give Hoag Law Firm a call at (727) 231-5420 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.