Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

Wrongful DeathWhen you lose a loved one in a tragic accident, your whole world can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. Realizing that your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence can make a tragic loss even worse. During this time, it is natural to struggle with overwhelming feelings of grief and loss, as well as anger and resentment. While no amount of compensation could ever replace the loss of your loved one, you and your family should not have to suffer unnecessary financial burdens as well.

After a tragic and fatal accident, you or your surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. This lawsuit will hold the reckless party responsible for their actions and ensure that you and your family have the money you need to pay for funeral expenses, burial costs, and the loss of future earnings and companionship. However, not every family member has the right to file a wrongful death claim after a fatal accident.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Florida Statute 768.21 establishes who can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death. Only survivors can file a lawsuit, such as the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and anyone wholly or partially dependent on the decedent for support or services. The types of compensation that can be recovered depends largely on their relationship to the decedent.

  • Surviving spouses and minor children – compensation for mental pain and anguish, loss of support and services, medical expenses, loss of future earnings, and funeral expenses.
  • Adult children – compensation for lost support and services. If there is no surviving spouse, then adult children may seek compensation for loss of parental companionship, mental anguish, and guidance.
  • Parents – compensation for medical and funeral expenses and mental pain and suffering if there is no surviving spouse or child.
  • Other relatives – compensation only if they were partly or wholly dependent on the person who died.

Choosing the Right Wrongful Death Lawyer

This is an emotional time for many families and having an experienced and compassionate Florida wrongful death lawyer on your side can lift some of the burden off of you. Choosing the right lawyer to file your wrongful death claim is important, especially when the stakes are so high. Before choosing an attorney, consider the following:

  • Choose a local attorney
  • Ask for recommendations
  • Ask about qualifications and review track record
  • Check online reviews
  • Find an attorney with specific experience litigating wrongful death claims
  • Hire someone trustworthy

It is important to hire an attorney as soon as you are able. In the State of Florida, survivors only have 2 years from the date of death to file a claim. In some rare situations, this may be postponed or delayed. An experienced and skilled wrongful death attorney can ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines for filing a claim.

Contact Our Daytona Beach Wrongful Death Attorneys

If you’ve lost someone you love in Daytona Beach, Florida and you believe that someone else’s negligence was to blame, it is important to speak to an experienced wrongful death lawyer to help you through this difficult time. At Zimmet & Zimmet, our experienced Daytona Beach wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience representing grieving families in Florida. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call 386-255-6400 or fill out our confidential contact form and someone will call you back! We know that you need a law firm on your side who you trust to fight for you and your family while you pick up the pieces of your life. Let us be that law firm. Call today!

Additional Reading

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Wrongful Death

An Overview of Defective Products and Wrongful Death in Florida

Innovation and creativity leads to the creation of thousands of new products each year. Few of these products have serious flaws that make it through the testing process, and even fewer have issues that can lead to death. Unfortunately, however, an overlooked product design error can lead to tragedy.

Wrongful Death

What Is a Wrongful Death Case?

Wrongful death cases analyze fault and cause when someone dies because of another person’s error. Products may be deemed defective if they work improperly, lack sufficient safety warnings, and/or cause unforeseeable accidents. A wrongful death case aims to make survivors whole by covering the wide range of expenses that come with the loss of a loved one.

Types of Products in Wrongful Death Cases

All sorts of products are named in wrongful death cases, but there are some categories that are much more common than others:

  • Automobile parts
  • Medical devices
  • Industrial machines
  • Products for children and babies
  • Electronic devices

Blame is placed on anyone who is determined to have acted improperly or avoided due diligence. An investigation may find fault on the part of suppliers, manufacturers, or retailers.

Damages in Wrongful Death Suits

When someone dies unexpectedly, loved ones are affected in a variety of ways. Awarded damages are meant to minimize the fallout of a wrongful death, which involves analysis of economic and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, distress, and other non-monetary effects. In some cases, a judge may even levy punitive damages. These charges are designed to punish the responsible party and ensure that they strive to improve their processes in the future.

Awarded damages are influenced by many factors, which is why it’s important to consult a wrongful death attorney. You may be able to seek compensation for lost income, medical expenses incurred prior to death, loss of consortium, and emotional damages.

It’s important to note that the amount sought in a wrongful death case depends partially on your relationship to the deceased party. For example, a spouse or child of the deceased party is more likely to incur greater damages than a cousin.

Damages are also influenced by the role of the responsible party in the accident. Numerous expert witnesses may be needed to assign fault and decide how much the wronged parties deserve.

Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer About Your Case

Wrongful death cases are multifaceted, time-consuming, and complicated, which is why they require the insight of an expert in this area of law. If you’ve been impacted by the wrongful death of a loved one, reach out to Zimmet & Zimmet at (386) 210-7989.

For More Information:

Family That Opened Their Home to Nikolas Cruz Now Facing Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Drivers Duty of Care – Left Turns

wrongful death

Family That Opened Their Home to Nikolas Cruz Now Facing Wrongful Death Lawsuits

wrongful deathWhen James and Kimberly Snead opened up their home to orphaned Nikolas Cruz, they never imagined the horror that would follow just 2 ½ months later. On February 14, 2018, the 19-year-old stormed into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and violently murdered 17 people and injured 17 more. Now, the Sneeds are facing multiple wrongful death claims, and they anticipate that more will be coming in the future.

Many have applauded the Sneads’ decision to let the young Cruz into their home. Others have condemned them for being willfully blind to the dangers of allowing a mentally unstable young man to own and store an AR-15 in their home. As a result, several of his victims have filed lawsuits with allegations that the Sneads should have known that Cruz was mentally ill and posed a threat to others.

One of these lawsuits is a wrongful death claim filed by the estate of 18-year-old Meadow Pollack.

Are the Snead’s Liable for Cruz’s Actions? 

The Snead’s have been quick to defend themselves and their actions.  When Cruz moved his gun collection into their home, they insisted that he buy a locking gun cabinet and that they remained in possession of the only key. They claim that they were unaware of his disturbing social media posts and never saw any warning signs that Cruz would turn violent.

The Sneads, like many American families, live paycheck to paycheck and are afraid that the cost of litigation will drive them into bankruptcy. To help with their sudden legal fees, they have set up a GoFundMe page. They have even considered moving out of Parkland to rebuild their lives after this tragic incident.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim Is Difficult

To win a wrongful death claim in Florida, you must prove three elements:

  1. Duty of Care – You must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person
  2. Breach of Care – You must establish that the defendant breached this duty of care
  3. Causation of Death – You must prove that the breach of care was the cause of the wrongful death

To prove each of these elements in a wrongful death claim, you must meet the “burden of proof” with an extensive amount of evidence. It’s important to note, however, that this burden of proof is lower than the burden of proof in criminal cases, where the standard is proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In the state of Florida, survivors only have 2 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you miss the deadline, you’ll forfeit the opportunity to file a claim. There are certain circumstances when you may be eligible for an extension of this deadline, which is why it’s important to speak to an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible for a complete review your case.

Call Our Compassionate Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys 

If you have lost a loved one because of another person’s negligence or misconduct in Volusia or Flager counties, the Florida wrongful death attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet are here to help. Our lawyers offer compassionate legal counsel every step of the way. Contact us today at (386) 255-6400 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.