When an individual dies in an accident that he or she did not cause, his or her death is ruled to be a wrongful death. This means that another party caused the victim’s death through negligence or reckless behavior. When a wrongful death occurs, the victim’s family members may file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the death’s insurer to seek monetary compensation for their loss. This compensation can cover a variety of economic damages that a family suffers when an individual dies. The specific damages that a family may seek depend on both the victim’s position in his or her family and the relative seeking the damages. In other words, a married victim’s spouse may be able to receive compensation for damages that a dependent parent may not be able to receive for a victim’s death. The Florida-specific laws regarding wrongful death claims are included in the Wrongful Death Act.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, whether that accident occurred while he or she was at work, was caused by a drunk or distracted driver, or simply happened because a property owner did not properly take care of his or her property, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to discuss your options for filing a wrongful death claim. Be sure to do this within the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Do not allow this time limit to expire. If you do, you lose the opportunity to receive monetary compensation for your damages. Be proactive and contact an attorney as soon as you can.
In Florida, individuals who were dependent on the victim may seek monetary compensation through a wrongful death claim. Generally, individuals in the following four categories can seek compensation:
- The victim’s spouse;
- The victim’s children;
- The victim’s parents;
- Any other individual who was named in the victim’s will or otherwise can prove he or she was dependent on the victim.
Individuals in each of the categories above are not automatically entitled to seek monetary compensation simply by being related to a victim – the claimant must prove that he or she was dependent on the victim.
In many cases, a victim’s parents may not seek a wrongful death claim unless they can prove that the victim supported them in some way. When the claimant is the victim’s child, the claimant’s age matters. Minor and young adult children are often much more likely to successfully receive compensation than claimants over the age of 25 because of the assumption that by 25, an individual is self-supporting.
Which types of damages may a claimant seek?
Any type of support that the victim provided to the claimant, the claimant is entitled to seek monetary compensation to cover through a wrongful death claim. This even includes damages that might not be immediately obvious, like coverage for emotional distress.
The damages that a wrongful death claimant may seek include:
- Compensation for medical expenses. If the victim received medical care immediately before his or her death or died as a result of medical malpractice, the victim’s family may seek monetary compensation for the medical services rendered, such as hospitalization and prescription drugs.
- Compensation for funeral expenses. The party or parties who paid for the victim’s funeral and related services may seek monetary compensation for these costs through a wrongful death claim.
- Emotional distress. Any individual who suffers significant emotional trauma following a loved one’s death may seek monetary compensation to cover the economic costs of such trauma, such as the need for psychological counseling or antidepressant medication. This can also include compensation for the loss of the victim’s companionship and guidance for his or her child.
- Projected loss of income. If the victim worked and contributed financially to his or her household, his or her dependents may seek compensation for this loss of financial support.
- Loss of the victim’s estate. Any individual who was poised to receive an inheritance from the victim may file a claim to receive monetary compensation for this loss.
Work with a St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have recently lost a loved one in an accident, you can seek monetary compensation for your losses. Contact Dolman Law Group at 727-222-6922 today to begin working with a member of our team of experienced personal injury attorneys.