Unexpected deaths that result from accidents, poor medical care, or criminal acts can throw your and your family’s lives into chaos. In addition to dealing with the immediate aftermath of the death, you may need to make provisions for the future at the same time.
Sometimes, a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to help provide for your financial future. Whenever a death can be attributed to the actions of another party, that defendant may be liable to pay compensation to the surviving members of a decedent’s family. This can include payments for lost earning potential, spousal mental anguish, and loss of parental guidance for any minor children.
A Tampa wrongful death lawyer could help you and your family during this difficult time. Whether the death was the result of an accident or an intentional act, a compassionate personal injury attorney could help to set things right.
How a Wrongful Death May Occur
Wrongful death cases arise out of one of two scenarios. The most common is when an accident caused by a negligent act leads to someone’s death. To prevail in these types of cases, a plaintiff must provide evidence that the defendant was negligent in a way that directly caused their loved one’s death. The intent of the defendant is irrelevant—if someone acts in an unreasonable manner in Tampa, they can be held responsible for any damage that may result. Common scenarios leading to negligence-based wrongful death cases include car accidents and medical malpractice.
The second possible source of a wrongful death claim is intentional acts. While much rarer than cases based on accidents, a homicide can certainly lead to a wrongful death suit in addition to criminal charges. It is important to remember, though, that regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, a decedent’s family must pursue a separate civil case—ideally with a Tampa wrongful death attorney’s guidance—if they wish to collect compensation.
Special Considerations in Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death lawsuits are a special breed of personal injury case. A first major concern is in naming the plaintiff. Normally in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff is the person injured during the accident in question. However, in cases where the injured party is no longer living, another plaintiff must pursue the case on their surviving family’s behalf.
Florida Statutes §768.20 states that the personal representative of the decedent’s estate must pursue the case on behalf of surviving family. A personal representative is typically named in a will. However, if the decedent dies without a will, the court may appoint a representative to pursue any legal needs of the estate.
Another aspect of the law to keep in mind is the available sources of compensation in a wrongful death suit. These are specifically named in Florida Statutes §768.21 as including:
- Payments for any lost income for the family due to the death, both in the present and in the future
- Compensation for a surviving spouse due to the loss of a loved one
- Payments meant to compensate children for the loss of parental guidance if the decedent is a parent
A Tampa wrongful death lawyer commonly works with individuals to evaluate the effect of the death on the decedent’s family and demand appropriate compensation for all associated injuries and losses.
Working with a Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney
Any death is a tragedy, but when that death is the result of another party’s mistake or intentional act, the family of the decedent has the right to seek compensation. This compensation can provide financial stability for the family and bring some peace of mind in the wake of a difficult chapter of their lives.
A Tampa wrongful death lawyer may be able to help with this process. They could handle your case with diligence and compassion, and help set things right. There is a limited time to file a case, so once you are ready, contact a Chicago wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.