The Wrongful Death Claim Process in St Petersburg, Florida

You may have a civil suit if you have lost a loved one due to another party's negligence or wrongful act. According to Florida Statute 768.19, wrongful death is when a person’s death is caused by negligence, a wrongful act, breach or default of contract or warranty. The wrongful death attorney will handle the civil suit and also have experience with personal injury cases and can help your claim.

When Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The wrongful death attorney has many responsibilities, including helping the family establish the basis for pursuing damages related to the wrongful death claim. A personal injury claim is typically filed and is an element required of any wrongful death claim.

In the state of Florida, only the estate’s personal representative can file one of these claims. The personal representative is named in the absence of the decedent and is often named in the will. If not, the court will appoint one for the estate.

The one who files the lawsuit must provide the survivor’s names if they are to benefit from the settlement. These claims could be filed on behalf of a surviving parent, spouse, child, or blood relative if they depended on the decedent for support. Also, the child of an unmarried person may benefit from the settlement if the parent was identified beforehand and the decedent had contributed to their support.

Determining Liability and Establishing Proof

Like any other personal injury case, you must submit evidence of the claim you submit. You must consider liability if the wrongful death claim involves a drunk driver.

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are more than 2,500 deaths per year on Florida roads, and one in four of these are alcohol-related, killing more than 600 annually. The rate per 100,000 population of deaths from motor vehicle crashes in Pinellas County was 13.2 in 2020 compared to 16.1 for the state of Florida.

If a death is caused by someone driving under the influence, it may provide the basis needed for a wrongful death case. If the person is criminally convicted, it will also add credibility to the claims being made and can help your personal injury case.

Proving the Chain of Causation

Criminal negligence isn’t necessarily a requirement for a wrongful death claim, but you do have to prove that the other driver was acting recklessly or negligently and these actions resulted in the accident that caused your loved one’s death. You also have to prove that the survivors of the decedent suffered damages as a result as well.

To do this, you must prove that the negligent driver failed to demonstrate reasonable care. A driver under the influence, on their cell phone, or is inattentive is not acting with reasonable care, for example.

Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Survivors may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages following the accident and the death of their loved one. Examples of economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include medical bills such as rehabilitation costs, diagnostic tests, prescriptions, surgery, and hospice care, lost wages, funeral expenses, and lost potential income and benefits.

Non-economic damages can include the loss of companionship, guidance, and future inheritance. However, these damages are more difficult to predict as the compensation amount may vary due to the nature of the circumstances.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent acts of another, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult an experienced wrongful death attorney today.