Wrongful Death

Death plays an inevitable role in everyone’s life. For most people, death occurs naturally, whether from illness, disease, old age, or an accident. In such cases, there is not much the decedent’s loved ones do about it beyond mourning their loss and eventually accepting it. However, if the “unnatural” negligence of others caused an accidental death, Florida law provides recourse to seek compensation from those at fault. Like personal injury law, wrongful death litigation allows the deceased’s heirs and/or estate to seek financial compensation for their loss from the negligent party(ies).

If you have lost a loved one in the Tallahassee area due to the apparent negligence of someone else, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Skilled personal injury lawyers—such as the ones at Akbar Law Firm, PA—can investigate all the factors leading to the death and determine the extent of potential negligence. Your lawyer can also determine what damages you should be entitled to under the law and strategize the best approach for securing damages from the responsible party(ies) and/or insurance companies.

Wrongful death negligence under Florida Law

According to Florida statutes, “It is the public policy of the state to shift the losses resulting when wrongful death occurs from the survivors of the decedent to the wrongdoer.” Wrongful death applies when the “death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person… and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.”

Wrongful death claims commonly arise from:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Unsafe property conditions
  • Intentional criminal actions
  • Dangerous roadways
  • Aviation accidents
Personal Injury_Wrongful Death_Work Accident

Recoverable damages and beneficiaries under Florida Law

Florida’s wrongful death statutes are geared toward compensating grieving family members for both their economic and non-economic losses. Wrongful death claims cover the broadest spectrum of recoverable damages of all personal injury lawsuits. Types of recoverable damages include:

  • Estimated lifetime savings, investments, interest, and benefits that would have accrued absent the death.
  • Lost earnings
  • Medical treatment and/or support expenses between the time of injury and death
  • Loss of spousal companionship and protection
  • Loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

Under the law, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the decedent’s estate on behalf of surviving family members. The estate’s executor or personal representative has two years from the date of death to file a claim. The filing must include the names of anyone holding an interest in the estate and any eligible survivors if not named as part of the estate. Eligible survivors include:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Minor children (defined as any child younger than age 25)
  • Adult children, if there is no surviving spouse
  • Each parent of a deceased minor child
  • Parents of an adult child if there are no other survivors

Any damages awarded through settlement or trial are split between the estate and eligible survivors (though survivors benefit further as long as they are part of the estate). The law allows the estate to recover tangible damages for lost earnings and estimated lifetime savings, investments, interest, and benefits. Eligible survivors are awarded intangible compensation for lost support, services, companionship, protection, guidance, instruction, and pain and suffering.

Damages for any medical and funeral expenses are awarded to whichever party paid them.

The complexities of wrongful death litigation

Every wrongful death case is unique and presents various challenges. You or the estate’s personal representative should always consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before filing a claim. Challenges could arise early in the process if there are any disputes between eligible survivors. Families are often complicated, and there could be any number of conflicts—estrangement, marital separation, children from different marriages, etc.—between family members. It is usually better to resolve any such potential disputes before engaging the negligent party and their lawyer(s) in settlement or trial.

Your personal injury lawyer will also need to determine who or what entity will be responsible for paying any settled or awarded compensation. In most cases, this will be the negligent party’s insurance company. Depending on insurance type and coverage, this could limit recoverable amounts. Those without insurance may not have the resources available to pay for damages or may otherwise be able to protect their assets.

Turn to Akbar Law Firm for your wrongful death claim

Akbar Law Firm, PA is dedicated to helping Florida Panhandle-area clients receive all the compensation they are legally entitled to when they lose a loved one due to the negligence of others. When presented with a definitive wrongful death case, we diligently gather evidence and investigate every detail of the death to ensure that there is robust cause for fair and just compensation.

Our extensive work on personal injury and wrongful death claims has provided us with a working relationship with our contemporaries who work on behalf of the insurance companies. We have leverage in negotiating reasonable and fair settlements through our familiarity with the tactics used by insurance companies to try to limit claims. Our ability to secure just compensation through negotiation is further enhanced because our opposition knows we will not hesitate to fight it in court.

The death of a loved one is difficult enough without constantly worrying about the status of your negligence claim. Thus, the lawyers at Akbar Law Firm always keep our clients fully informed about every development in their case. Keeping clients well-informed about the status of their claims helps reduce their stress so that they can focus on emotional recovery.

When to contact Akbar Law Firm, PA

If you believe that a loved one was killed due to the negligence of another person or entity, contact Akbar Law Firm to assess your claim. Wrongful death liability is not always clear-cut, but our lawyers are highly adept at determining whether negligence may have played a role in the death.