Losing a loved one in an accident or violent crime is something that will devastate a family. People often find it difficult to process the loss and move forward. Sometimes, holding the responsible parties accountable could help bereaved families come to terms with their loss.
If your loved one died in an accident, you could seek financial damages from the responsible party with the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact a Tavares wrongful death lawyer to discuss your legal options as soon as you can.
A wrongful death action is a lawsuit to get compensation for the untimely passing of a loved one. The deceased person’s estate brings the lawsuit in civil court and the only remedy available is money. Any careless, reckless, or intentional act that led to someone’s death could be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Sometimes a prosecutor brings criminal charges against someone related to a death. A criminal case has no bearing on the wrongful death lawsuit the family might bring.
An act need not be criminal for a family to bring a lawsuit. A wrongful death could occur as a result of a car accident, if faulty wiring in an apartment building caused a fire, a broken railing in a store caused a fatal fall, or an accidental drowning occurred because of a recreational boat collision. A Tavares attorney could review the circumstances surrounding a fatality and advise a family whether there is a basis for a wrongful death action.
When someone dies, the court appoints a person to oversee collecting and distributing their property and paying their debts. The person the court appoints is called the estate’s Personal Representative, which is often a family member but could be someone from outside the family.
The Personal Representative is the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit and they work with a Tavares attorney to gather evidence to support the claim and calculate the family’s damages. The personal representative usually must file a lawsuit within two years of the deceased person’s death. Most lawsuits, including wrongful death lawsuits, settle before a trial.
Any money from the lawsuit goes to the deceased person’s estate and their family members. The amount a family member might receive depends on their relationship to the deceased.
Florida Statutes § 768.21 describes the damages available through a wrongful death lawsuit. Some damages are paid into the deceased person’s estate and can be used to settle their debts. Any money left over goes to family members and other heirs. Creditors cannot claim against these funds.
The estate could claim the money the deceased person would have saved and left for their heirs if they had lived their entire life expectancy and worked until retirement. If the estate paid the funeral expenses, then damages from the lawsuit could reimburse the estate for those expenses.
If the deceased person survived their injury before succumbing later, the estate could claim damages for their medical expenses and lost wages during the period after the injury, and the pain and suffering they endured before passing.
Various family members could receive the proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit. Eligible family members could include a surviving spouse, children, and parents. A Tavares attorney could explain which family members are eligible to receive wrongful death damages in a specific case.
The family members could claim the money the deceased would have contributed to their household over the rest of their expected lifespan. They also can claim the value of their services such as driving, childcare, yard work, and similar chores.
A spouse and minor children could receive damages for the loss of their loved one’s protection and support. Children could seek damages for the loss of their parent’s guidance and instruction. All family members could claim damages for their grief and mental suffering.
Focusing on practical matters could be challenging after a loved one’s death. It might take some time before you feel ready to begin planning a new future. However, the law does not allow much time for a family to decide whether to bring a lawsuit related to their loved one’s death.
A Tavares wrongful death could handle the details of bringing a legal action while allowing you the time and space to grieve. Preserve your right to seek damages for your loved one’s death by calling The Umansky Law Firm today.
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