When a person dies in a tragic accident, the family of that person suffers an irreparable loss. The law provides protection for the loved ones of victims who die as a result of another person’s negligence. Losing a family member has emotional consequences, but it can also cause devastating impacts on the family’s financial situation. In some cases, families will lose the breadwinner, and in addition to being faced with mourning the loss, they might be struggling to pay their rent.
Losing the life of someone you love is always a terrible event, but when it was needlessly caused by someone else’s carelessness, there is an added frustration to the tragedy. Some examples of wrongful death claims include when a driver kills another person in a car crash, when a defective medication causes a fatal reaction, or when a person is injured because of dangerous conditions on someone else’s property. Many wrongful death claims also stem from incidents involving medical malpractice.
While wrongful death claims might overlap with criminal charges, these claims are civil and are primarily intended to compensate the family rather than punish the perpetrator. The standard of proof is a lesser one than is used in criminal court, and these lawsuits may be successful even when criminal claims are not.
If you lost a loved one in an accident that another individual caused, contact the dedicated attorneys at the Durham Law Group today at 813-333-6250 to learn how our compassionate Tampa wrongful death attorneys can help you and your family.
Who Can Recover in Florida Wrongful Death Claims?
Not every family member can recover following accidental death. Spouses are able to file claims, as are the victim’s children. Parents may also file lawsuits, and siblings can in some cases as well. If a family member depended on the victim for financial support, then that individual will have a claim if he or she is the victim’s adopted sibling or a blood relative of the deceased.
In Florida, a child can only recover damages in a wrongful death claim related to the child’s father if that father recognized the child as his own or was obligated to provide support for the child. This applies in the event of unmarried parents.
How Are the Damages Determined?
Damages in many personal injury lawsuits are designed to compensate the injured person. In the case of a wrongful death action, the victim has passed away, and the family is filing to collect damages. These cases can include compensation for the victim’s family that will cover the lost income resulting from the death of the individual. Courts will calculate that number based on what the victim earned and was expected to earn.
The damages may also include loss of consortium in the case of a spouse of the victim, or for emotional and mental pain following the loss of a child.
Medical bills accrued before the victim’s death might also be included. In some instances, accident victims will spend days or more in the hospital before dying. Those bills can add up and might become a burden for the family. The victim’s estate can recover such losses. Wrongful death claims will also involve costs associated with funeral expenses.
While no amount of damages can ever replace the loss of a loved one, a successful claim helps to hold liable the individual or individuals who caused the death and can remove some of the stress and worry for the victim’s family. The victim’s family needs to be able to focus on the healing process. Taking some of the financial strain away can remove one burden for the victim’s loved ones.
Statutes of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims in Tampa, Florida
When a person dies, lawsuits might not be the first thing on the minds of the family members. However, it is important to note that Florida has a statute of limitations that will prevent lawsuits from being filed once two years pass from the point in time when the victim died.
It should be noted that the statute for wrongful death claims is shorter than the state’s statute of limitations in car accident claims or other personal injury lawsuits. In most injury claims, the statute is four years from the date of the loss. In wrongful death claims, the statute runs from the date of the victim’s death. If the victim dies two weeks after a car accident, for example, the date of death starts the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, but personal injury claims would be subject to a statute of limitation that will run four years from the date of the crash, which was two weeks before the victim died. Filing a claim after the statute has run will typically result in the court refusing to hear the matter. Never hesitate to contact a Tampa wrongful death attorney with questions regarding your claim.
Contact the Durham Law Group Today for Help With a Tampa Wrongful Death Matter
At the Durham Law Group, our dedicated attorneys are here to help you recover following a loss. Call us today at 813-333-6250 for a consultation with one of our experienced Tampa wrongful death attorneys.