Wrongful death claims in the state of Florida are classified as those deaths which are directly related to someone’s negligence or a deliberate action that led up to the death. Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years in order to stay in compliance with the statutes of limitations. In all cases, wrongful death claims are considered civil litigation and have a different burden of proof than a criminal trial.
Causes of wrongful death
Wrongful death claims may be brought when certain conditions exist that show that a person was responsible for another’s death whether resulting from a variety of actions and in some cases, inaction.
- Job related wrongful death – family members of employees who have been killed on the job because an employer expose them to hazardous chemicals, provided improper training or failed to provide for proper safety equipment may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
- Medical wrongful death – medical malpractice including prescribing wrong medications, improper surgical procedures or failure to diagnose may all lead to filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family of the decedent.
- Accidents causing death – car accident, bus and train accidents, and even airplane accidents may entitle family members to file a wrongful death claim.
- Criminal actions resulting in death – a simple mugging gone terribly wrong, home invasions, assault and battery that ends in death or gunshot and knife injuries that result in death are all considered wrongful death.
Proof required for wrongful death
In order for a survivor to file a wrongful death claim, they must be able to prove the death was caused by negligence or deliberate intent to harm. Additionally, family members should be able to prove financial injury including loss of financial support, loss of inheritance as well as medical and funeral expenses. In most cases, a damages award will also require payment of interest from the date of death as well as legal fees.
Who may file wrongful death claims
In general, surviving spouses, surviving parents, children of the decedent or siblings may file a wrongful death claim. In the case of a surviving parent, the loss of an adult child will result in a smaller recovery, and only if there are no other survivors.
Surviving spouses may have the option of recovering both compensatory and punitive damages. Punitive damages are typically awarded only when there is proof the death was a result of grossly negligent action, intentional behavior or reckless behavior.
When pursuing a wrongful death claim, it is imperative to have an attorney who understands how the Florida laws work as well as someone who will deal with your family in a calm and compassionate manner. Understandably no amount of compensation will make up for the loss of a loved one; this does not mean you should not seek remuneration for the financial loss as well as loss of companionship. Losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence or bad behavior is difficult enough without having to deal with the financial challenges due to that loss. Contact the Law Office of The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A., if you feel you have a wrongful death claim.