Are you facing the job of having to choose a wrongful death lawyer?
When you lose a loved one, we know the pain and grief are insurmountable. This grief is magnified though when the loved one was a key figure in not just your daily life, but your support structure. In situations where the death occurred because of another’s poor choices, grief is often accompanied by anger, confusion, and (sometimes) fear. Financial burdens like medical expenses, funeral costs, and loss of income weigh heavily on those left behind.
One of the first tasks faced by families (as you’re experiencing) is determining who to call on when their loved one deserves representation and justice.
If this sounds like you, you’ll need to choose a wrongful death lawyer in your area, but first, you need to understand what wrongful death is…and what it’s not.
What is wrongful death?
In Florida, wrongful death is defined as:
“When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.”
-Florida Statute 768.19
This means, in short, that wrongful death is when an individual dies due to the negligent or intentional act of another person. Common wrongful death scenarios here in Florida include:
- car accidents
- defective products
- motorcycle accidents
- medical malpractice
- truck accidents
- work accidents
- aviation accidents
- boating accidents
Tampa families are frequently left to wonder if they have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. The answer is, yes, in many situations you have the right to file a wrongful death claim on the death of your family member.
What wrongful death is NOT.
Under Florida law, wrongful death is not the same thing as murder or manslaughter.
Murder requries intention. Both first and second degree murder require the intent to kill, even if it wasn’t premeditated or prepared for. Unlike murder, manslaughter doesn’t require the proven intent to take a life. Like murder though, it does require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Wrongful death does not require proof beyond reasonable doubt, and is categorized as a death caused by negligence, not malice (aka, intent to kill.)
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
Ultimately, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is the one who actually brings a suit against the individual or entity at fault. Oftentimes, that representative is a family member.
Under Florida law, there are specific criteria for those eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Loss of support (monetary and emotional) are the biggest factors that go into determining eligibility. Here in Tampa, your team at Brooks Law Group is your best source of detailed information to determine if you have a worthwhile case and should move forward.
However, at the most basic level, these people can file a wrongful death suit:
Spouses can file a suit to recover both financial and emotional loss. This includes the loss of support in cases where the dead spouse provided childcare, home services, etc.
Both biological and adoptive parents (legal guaridans) are eligible, dependent upon circumstances, age of deceased child, etc.
Children who lost a parent (or both parents) have the right to file a wrongful death case in Florida. This includes adoptive children (again, dependent upon specific circumstances surrounding the death.)
In some cases, blood or adoptive relatives can file a wrongful death lawsuit, if loss of support, suffering, and damages are able to be proven by their lawyer. That leads to our next point…
Why is it so important to choose a wrongful death lawyer with experience?
An experienced wrongful death lawyer fully understands the laws and statutes in your state, and can best utilize those to get the compensation you need and the justice your loved one deserves.
Some key ways your wrongful death lawyer will serve you and your family are:
- Understanding legal complexities. Experienced lawyers fully understand the intricacies of wrongful death cases. They navigate issues specific to your area like statute of limitations, burden of proof, definitions of terms, etc., and best help you and your family make informed decisions throughout your case.
- Advocating for your rights. A legal team that has years of experience in wrongful death representation will thoroughly understand your rights. Whether you are a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased, a lawyer with a background in wrongful death law can best get the maximum compensation from your case.
- Determining liability. A huge part of representing families in a wrongful death lawsuit is determining liability and fault. An experienced lawyer has the skills, resources, and connections necessary to do this.
The importance of hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer can not be emphasized enough.
Who represents wrongful death victims and their families in Tampa?
Brooks Law Group has years of experience standing alongside families like yours who deserve closure after the death of a loved one. We provide the support, expertise, and compassion you need most after your loss.
We know you don’t need additional financial burdens at this time, and our contingency fee means you don’t pay unless we win. Our initial consultation is free, giving you a chance to meet our team, discuss your case, and determine if we’re the best fit for your family. No obligations, and no pressure…just care and concern for your family’s well-being. During this difficult season, we want you to feel supported and cared for, whether we’re around the table, in the courtroom, or finalizing your settlement when your case closes.
Questions about wrongful death in Florida? We’re here to help. Reach out to us and let us help you get the justice you deserve and secure your loved one’s legacy.