Losing a loved one is never easy, but you may struggle even more with processing it if the death was unexpected. The shock may be harder to bear if it was someone else's fault. But, if you have lost someone due to someone else's actions, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you make ends meet while you and your family grieve. In the issue of wrongful death, no amount of money can make up for the loss you have experienced, but you definitely should not have to suffer any financial blowbacks because of this loss. Many grieving spouses or children find it too difficult to make these realizations while they are in the throes of grief. However, if the person you lost is an immediate family that contributed to your household, you may suffer financial struggles without their regular income. Additionally, there can be a surprising number of costs that arise if medical treatment or property repairs stem from the death of your loved one.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is one that is caused by another person's negligence, wrongful act, omission, or default. This type of death can even include cases of premises liability where an on-site injury led to the loss of one's life.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Accidents
The state of Florida often sees the following types of wrongful death accidents:
- Car Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Unsafe Premises Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Cruiseship Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Defective Drugs
- Amusement Park Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Slip and Fall Incidents
How to Establish a Wrongful Death Case
To establish a wrongful death case, there are a few key steps you will need to follow with the help of a trusted attorney.
- An estate must be opened on behalf of the deceased. This involves appointing someone to administer the estate as well.
- A claim must be filed on behalf of the estate. This is usually filed on behalf of the deceased's immediate family, like a spouse or a child.
- Prove a duty of care was expected. You need to first prove that the defendant owed some kind of general expectation of behavior toward your loved one. For example, everyone has a duty of care to drive responsibly and obey all traffic laws in a collective effort to maintain safety for all drivers.
- Prove the defendant violated the duty of care. Here is where you prove the defendant's actions stepped outside of the reasonable expectations of their duty of care. You need to pinpoint with your lawyer exactly what action the defendant took that put your loved one's life in danger.
- Prove the defendant's actions caused the death of your loved one. Make a case that shows your loved one's death would have never happened without the defendant's violation of the duty of care. You need to show the direct correlation between the defendant's actions and your loved one's foreseeable death because of those specific actions.
- Prove the death caused damages to the deceased's estate. You may be entitled to compensation to make up for the damages done to your loved one's estate. This includes, but is not limited to, medical bills, the loss of income now that your loved one is gone, therapy, and funeral expenses. Unfortunately, deaths do not come without expenses and, for some, those expenses can linger and quickly turn into compounded debt.
Who Can Be Entitled to Recover Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
There are many different roles that can be considered survivors of the deceased. Typical family members or suvivors that are included in one's estate generally fall under one of the following categories:
- A Spouse With or Without Suviving Minor Children
- May claim damages such as pain and suffering, support services, loss of companionship, loss of parental guidance, medical expenses, and funeral expenses
- Surviving Parents
- May claim damages for pain and suffering, future lost support and services, medical expenses, or funeral expenses
- Recovery options are limited if the deceased was over 25 years old (unless there were no other survivors) or medical negligence is the source of the wrongful death
- Surviving Adult Children
- Children over the age of 25
- Can recover medical or funeral bills paid by their own accounts
- Can recover lost support and services
- Recovery options are limited if there is a surviving spouse or medical negligence is the source of the wrongful death
- Additional Blood Relatives
- May include adoptive siblings (if they were dependent on the deceased for services or support)
One can clearly see how establishing a wrongful death case requires an attorney that is both knowledgeable and familiar with the most up-to-date changes in Florida law. As statutes are updated, you need someone with a modern grasp on our oldest laws. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve properly by reaching out to an attorney you can trust.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have lost a loved one in 2020, you may be wondering if you can open a case on their behalf. There are a variety of factors that must be considered and analyzed when making this determination. You may be entitled to opening a premises liability case or a wrongful death case. The attorneys at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh are highly experienced at dealing with wrongful death matters like these, along with car accidents, premises liability, and medical malpractice. We will ask you several precise questions to give you a full case evaluation at no cost to you. We make no money unless we make a recovery for you. The attorneys and staff at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh have the experience, resources, and reputation to take on those at fault and get you the compensation you deserve. We have served the Palm Beach County area well, and we can give you the benefit of our expertise as professionals and local citizens of the state. Click here to read some of our reviews for yourself, and then contact us today for a quick consultation with one of our empathetic and effective attorneys.