Florida Wrongful Death Act Overview

wrongful death

Every state has enacted legislation governing wrongful death claims, but they have chosen differing approaches regarding how families can be compensated for damages. Some states allow claims from both the immediate family and the decedent estate, and others have only allowed the claim from the decedent estate with a designated family representative given standing to sue on their behalf. Florida legislators have chosen the latter, and in addition the court can intervene with setting compensation caps in some cases. This means that wrongful death claims can be successfully defended in many instances when the family does not have an aggressive and experienced Hillsborough County personal injury attorney like Mandelbaum, Fitzsimmons, Hewitt & Cain injury attorney in Tampa Florida representing the claim.

Who Has Standing?

Wrongful death claim standing is assigned to surviving spouses and children of the decedent, and in some cases, parents can be included as well. Parents of children who die in wrongful death situations are the primary designated parties, but parents of adults’ decedents can be included under certain circumstances. All biological relatives are included, so children from a previous marriage or relationship are also included if they are still minors. All wrongful death legal actions must include all potential inheritors, as this will be vital information when a settlement is finalized, or the case goes to trial.

What Can Be Claimed?

A wrongful death claim is different from a standard personal injury claim in several aspects, with the elements of the claim being the most basic. Damages will include compensation for funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of future financial support for any dependents. There must also be evidence of extenuating gross negligence on the part of the defending respondent, as the mere fact someone died in an accident does not establish a wrongful death case. Comparative negligence matters significantly, especially in auto accident cases, and the plaintiff attorney must prove the defending party acted with reckless disregard on some level in causing the death.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Tampa Florida

Wrongful death claims can be complicated and strongly defended legal matters. Florida residents should always contact Mandelbaum, Fitzsimmons, Hewitt & Cain Hillsborough County personal injury attorney for comprehensive legal representation.