A wrongful death case can, under certain circumstances, be brought by surviving relatives when someone dies due to the carelessness or misconduct of another person, business, or corporate entity. When a person is killed, there may be a criminal prosecution case brought against the person or entity responsible for the death. However, criminal prosecution is completely separate from the civil lawsuit.

A civil court wrongful death case requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant owed the victim or decedent, a legal duty of care, and breached that duty by a careless or negligent act. The plaintiff must also show that breach of duty was the direct cause of the decedent’s death. Finally, it is necessary to prove that all the damages sought by surviving relatives were due to the death of the decedent. In other words, but for the death of that loved one, the survivors would not have suffered the emotional and/or financial losses claimed in the suit.

Some of the most common types of wrongful death cases include motor vehicle accidents, deaths caused by defective products, construction site accidents, or other on the job or work-related events, and medical malpractice.

There are two kinds of damages in wrongful death cases that survivors might be able to claim against the at-fault parties. First, there are economic damages, which are financial injury or loss. Those may include loss of support money, loss of inheritance, medical expenses, and funeral costs. Secondly, there are non-economic losses, which essentially consists of money or compensation for mental and emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and so forth, due to the loss of the decedent.

Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims

According to Florida Statutes, Chapter 95.11, the victim’s duly authorized representative must file a wrongful death case with the Clerk of Court within 2 years of the anniversary of the decedent’s death. That representative can be someone named in a will, or more often, appointed by the judge.

The loss of a loved one, for any reason, can be emotionally and financially devastating to the family, spouse, or other relatives.  It can become even more overwhelming for survivors when someone else’s negligence or malfeasance caused the death.  Rand Saltsgaver has been practicing law in Orlando for over 40 years and handled more than four thousand accident and injury-related claims.  During that time, he has also handled a number of wrongful death cases, including motor vehicle accidents, child drownings in hotels, theme park injuries, and backyard pools, as well as recreational areas. Mr. Saltsgaver has also been a guest speaker at continuing legal education seminars on the topics of wrongful death and personal injury over the years.  If you need an attorney’s assistance, Mr. Saltsgaver is the right choice. Call us today to set up your free consultation, and remember, we don’t get paid if we don’t win.