Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer

When someone dies due to a wrongful death, it can throw the surviving family members into chaos. They often want answers and justice for their loved one’s death, in addition to compensation for any damages.

What is wrongful death

Wrongful death occurs as a result of the negligence or reckless act of another person or institution, such as a company. Throughout the US and specifically in the State of Florida, surviving members of the person’s family have a legal right to seek compensation for their losses. When someone dies in this way, the survivors are often so grief-stricken and overwhelmed that they do not know where to turn.

funeral flowers for the death from a car accident victim

This is a difficult time when the services of our experienced wrongful death lawyer are critical. You as the survivor may be overcome with grief and not know how to proceed. But, the injury lawyers at Zervos & Calta know the law and can advise you as to your legal rights. We will help you every step of the way through the legal process of receiving financial compensation for your loss. The compensation you deserve can range from funeral expenses and medical bills to lost income and support, as well as lost companionship, or loss of consortium.

The purpose of a death lawsuit

A wrongful death claim, sometimes called a death lawsuit, is one that arises when a person dies as a result of another person’s negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct. These lawsuits are different from other types of personal injury claims because the actual victim (the “decedent”) is not bringing suit, rather it is the family members or the decedent’s estate. The purpose of a lawsuit is to provide relief to surviving family members who have been injured emotionally and financially as a result of the family member’s demise. The plaintiff in a wrongful death action is the personal representative of the decedent.

Damages for survivors

The types of damages recovered do not include damages that are personal to the decedent, since the decedent is not allowed to recover for pain and suffering, mental distress, or any other form of compensatory damages unique to him or her. As such, a lawsuit is brought by a personal injury attorney to recover economic damages and non-economic damages for the injuries that the surviving spouse, family, or the estate have suffered due to the death of the victim.

Types of wrongful death claims

Any situation in which a negligent or intentional act of one individual causes the death of another can be a wrongful death. Some of the more common types of claims are:

  • CAR ACCIDENTS – In the US a hundred people die every day from injuries suffered in a car accident (about 36,000 a year). Many of these auto accidents are the result of negligence, particularly when drunk driving is involved, and Uber accidents are becoming more frequent.
  • TRUCK ACCIDENTS– When a commercial vehicle collides with a passenger vehicle, the small passenger vehicle is where fatalities likely occur. Negligence or a wrongful act by commercial drivers or companies in truck accidents can result in someone’s death.
  • ACCIDENTS AT WORK – Employers are obliged to maintain safe workplaces. Not doing so is negligent and can result in wrongful death.
  • OTHER ACCIDENTS – Other common situations where a death can occur are bicycle, motorcycle, slip and fall, bus, or any driving accident, and construction or pedestrian accident.
  • MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – Mistakes during surgery, injuries at birth, and misdiagnosis are just some of the causes of wrongful death or medical malpractice at the hands of medical professionals and institutions.
  • PRODUCT LIABILITY – Those who design, manufacture, and sell defective products are liable when the defect or the failure to warn about the defect results in death.
  • CRIME AND VIOLENCE – When a criminal is convicted and punished for a crime it does not relieve the financial burden. But a death lawsuit is possible to recover damages for the loss of a loved one.

wrongful death claim after victim dies from a car accident

The burden of proving wrongful death by law

As painful as it may be to lose a loved one, the law will not provide compensation until you, the injured party, satisfy the burden of proof needed. Here, again, is where experienced wrongful death attorneys are essential. You should NEVER settle a wrongful death lawsuit without the advice of personal injury lawyers who are experienced in this type of claim. These are the general standards that a death lawsuit must satisfy.

  1. There was a legal obligation to exercise care and avoid situations of high risk
  2. That obligation was breached through ignorance, negligence, a breach of duty of care, or an intentional act
  3. Death was directly caused by the breach of the obligation
  4. There are things like medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of support and income as well as pain and suffering that are direct results of the decedents death

Who is entitled to file a claim?

This may vary from state to state. Usually, immediate family like spouses and children file a claim, as they are most affected by the loss of a family member and the financial support he or she provided. A personal representative of the estate of the deceased person is the person allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The court will appoint someone if the deceased had no estate plan or will. And that claim is filed on behalf of the estate of the deceased person and any surviving spouse or family.

What about children

In filing the personal injury claim, the representative must list every survivor who has an interest in and right to compensation. Parents often make these claims as well. In some cases, people in the extended family may also make a claim if they were economically impacted by the death.

This can become complicated when there are children not born in marriage but who are blood relatives of the deceased. Another reason why talking with a wrongful death attorney is important is to make certain that the interests of all who have a rightful claim to compensation are represented. A personal injury attorney from Zervos & Calta, PLLC can help you determine who is entitled to file a death lawsuit.

When must a wrongful death claim be filed in Florida

The statute of limitations for filing in the State of Florida is four years. However, there are very specific instances in which that time limit for wrongful death statutes may be extended.

cemetery plot of victim of an accidental death in the US

What damages and compensation can be recovered by law in Florida

Florida wrongful death law specifies the types of damages that can be recovered in the Florida Wrongful Death Statute. These can be recovered by survivors and by the decedents estate seeking justice and include medical bills and other expenses, lost wages, the value of support and services, companionship and guidance, emotional and mental pain and suffering, as in the loss of a child.

Seeking legal advice is essential for people seeking to sue in order to receive the compensation and justice they are entitled to. Our wrongful death lawyer can advise you on whether or not you have a viable case and work to get you the best outcome possible. Anyone who is dealing with the death of a loved one and thinks that another person was at fault should speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney immediately.

Contact us by filling out the form on the right or call 727-937-3171 to schedule a free consultation. Your initial consultation at any of our offices is free.

Our injury attorneys at Zervos & Calta Personal Injury Law work on a contingency fee seeking justice for you, so we only get paid when we win.

Visit us in one of our four convenient office locations in Spring Hill, Tarpon SpringsSt. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL. If you are unable to come to us, one of our attorneys will come to you.

We also work with clients in Trinity, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Westchase, Hudson, Elfers, Holiday, Bayonet Point, and New Port Richey.

Call Us

Clearwater:          727-608-5757

Spring Hill:           352-606-2548

St. Petersburg:     727-362-6552

Tarpon Springs:   727-937-3171

          and all other areas