Wrongful Death Lawyer in West Tampa3705 N Himes Ave,
Tampa, FL 33607
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West Tampa, FL Wrongful Death Lawyers
In West Tampa, FL, when a person dies because another party or entity was at fault, the surviving family members may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to seek damages for the survivor’s losses. Wrongful death lawsuits are a civil action that is a relatively new concept under the law. In the past, “common law” (the laws brought to the continent from England by early colonists) did not have such a remedy. Common law held that an injured party could bring a civil action for their injuries, but if they died, so did the legal action.
Depending on the jurisdiction where the death occurred, survivors may have been able to recover damages based on the fact there was no public policy against recovery for wrongful death. Other jurisdictions did not allow a cause of action until a wrongful death statute was passed. Both common law and state statutes are how wrongful death law has developed in the modern United States. Survivors could pursue civil actions, while states can pursue criminal actions if the death involved a crime being committed, such as murder or manslaughter.
If you’ve lost a loved one because of negligence, the West Tampa, FL, wrongful death lawyers at Morgan and Morgan may be able to help. A loved one’s death can cause tremendous grief and upheaval, but only certain family members may bring a lawsuit. Read more about wrongful death lawsuits and the process below.
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Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?
In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate is the only person that can bring a lawsuit. This representative may be assigned by the person during their lifetime by being named in the will or estate plan or may be appointed by the court after death if the deceased left no will or estate plan.
Although only one person may be in charge of bringing a wrongful death claim, the compensation that is awarded is given to the deceased’s estate for the benefit of survivors and dependants. When filing the lawsuit, the representative must stipulate every survivor who may have an interest in the case and have cause to claim a portion of the award legally. Any award will then be distributed according to the inheritance laws of Florida, which dictate the closest family members will be the inheritors.
Who Can Collect Damages in a Successful West Tampa, FL, Wrongful Death Claim?
Family members are known as the beneficiaries of a successful wrongful death claim. These beneficiaries can be compensated for various personal injuries from the death of a loved one, such as:
- Out-of-pocket expenses for the funeral and burial of the deceased
- Expenses from any medical treatment the deceased received between the accident and before death
- Damages from their loved one’s pain and suffering before death
In Florida, a beneficiary can collect for the victim’s losses and their own. These losses may include loss of future income the deceased may have provided, plus any benefits such as medical, dental, and vision insurance. Beneficiaries can also collect for loss of household services and be compensated for grief and other emotional losses, plus any other additional expenses resulting from the wrongful death.
Florida only recognizes specific individuals to be valid beneficiaries which include the following:
Spouse - A surviving spouse has the right to damages for loss of companionship and love they suffer from losing their loved one, as well as compensation for the emotional anguish that comes from the sudden loss of their spouse.
Children - Children under the age of 18 may be compensated for the loss of a parent that would have provided them with financial stability, guidance, comfort, and protection.
Parents - If the deceased was a minor at the time of death, the parents might be able to recover compensation for the loss of their relationship with their child, emotional trauma, and the future comfort and care they would have enjoyed from their child.
Dependent family members - If a blood relative or adopted family member was dependent or partially dependent upon the care of the deceased, they might be able to recover compensation for their loss of support.
Children of unmarried parents - In Florida, the children of an unmarried mother may be eligible for damages for their mother’s wrongful death. However, suppose the father was unmarried and was the victim of wrongful death. In that case, the children may only collect if the father formally recognized them and was under an obligation to support them.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Florida?
First, the statute of limitations is a deadline for which the deceased’s legal representative must file a lawsuit. When the statute of limitations is passed, your claim will not be heard by the courts. In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of death. However, if the at-fault party is a government entity, the deadline is far shorter, usually six months. Any wrongful death involving a member of the government needs to be addressed right away. That includes any accidents that involve city trains, buses, and street cars.
Our West Tampa, FL, wrongful death lawyers can help make sure any required legal filing is made within the statute of limitation. Still, reaching out to us as soon as possible is critical to ensure you don’t lose your right to sue for compensation.
What are the Steps in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
We understand that no amount of money can make up for the tragic loss of your loved one. However, with a wrongful death lawsuit, you may have some small comfort in not having to worry about paying for medical expenses and other financial burdens that are left in the wake of this tragedy. Here are the steps to take in a wrongful death lawsuit:
Contact Morgan and Morgan - Wrongful death cases are typically complicated because a wrongful death will likely result in significant damages. Insurance companies don’t like to pay out a lot of money and will work vigorously to keep your award minimal. That’s why you need the expertise of our West Tampa, FL, wrongful death lawyers. We will fight to ensure you and your family are awarded the maximum amount possible for your heartbreaking loss.
Working with your lawyer to provide the appropriate documentation - A wrongful death lawsuit will require a death certificate from Florida’s Department of Health and any medical bills and evidence related to the accident. Our team will help you every step of the way and do our investigation as needed to prove the other party’s negligence.
Communicating with the at-fault party - When we file the lawsuit on your behalf, it’s our experience that most defendants will be open to discussing a settlement rather than risk a trial. If the offer is fair, we will advise you of this. If we don’t feel it’s fair, we will discuss the option of going to trial to let the courts decide. Often, a winning verdict will provide substantial compensation for the beneficiaries of wrongful death claims.
Recovering wrongful death damages - The final step of a wrongful death lawsuit is recovering the damages. Here, you will receive compensation for your losses, including expenses for putting your loved one to their final rest, any medical bills incurred, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.
What Are the Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Winning a wrongful death lawsuit depends on many factors. Primarily it will require evidence that the other party was negligent or careless, which led to the death. The odds of winning a wrongful death lawsuit depend greatly on getting the right kind of legal representation. Such an important matter should not be dealt with alone. There’s simply too much at stake. Suppose you don’t have an expert on your side. In that case, the insurance company may take advantage of you. Sadly, even under the worst circumstances, like the loss of life, they will do whatever it takes to protect their bottom line. Our West Tampa, FL, wrongful death lawyers will be able to give a professional opinion on the chances you will be successful in a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful Death Examples
Motor vehicle accidents - West Tampa traffic makes it the 12th in the nation in terms of bad traffic. With gridlock comes aggressive driving, and car accidents are a common cause of fatalities. Most vehicular fatalities are the result of at least one driver’s negligence. If a negligent driver caused your loved one’s death, they could be held liable. Other parties that may be responsible could include the city or county if road conditions contributed to the accident.
Medical malpractice - Most doctors and nurses are competent and highly skilled. However, that doesn’t mean they are infallible. When mistakes occur, lives can be lost, and responsible parties should be held accountable. Medical malpractice that results in death can be from misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. A surgical error can also lead to wrongful death.
Work accidents - Some occupations are at higher risk than others, such as construction and fishing jobs. However, wrongful death can occur at any type of job if there are dangerous conditions. While workplace fatalities are usually covered under workers’ compensation, you may still need the help of an attorney if the settlement offer doesn’t seem appropriate. Morgan and Morgan workers’ compensation lawyers can help you get the maximum benefits.
Defective products - A defective product can be dangerous, even if used as it was designed. Product liability is the reason why manufacturers put so much time into testing their products before selling them to the public. However, that doesn’t mean that mistakes or miscalculations aren’t made. Defective products that have caused grave harm include medical devices and medications, toxic food, and defective vehicles.
Commercial trucking accidents - Semi-truck, big rig, and 18-wheeler accidents belong in their own category since these trucks are massive, and liability can fall to various parties. These can include the driver, the commercial trucking company, the truck and parts manufacturer, and the company that loads the cargo. Sometimes, all may share in the liability, which makes these claims for wrongful death extremely complex. Working with a lawyer that specializes in truck accidents is crucial for this sort of claim.
Pedestrian accidents - Any accident between a vehicle and a pedestrian is more likely to result in a fatality. Driver negligence is often behind this type of accident. However, the city or county may have some fault if there was a faulty design in the road or traffic signals.
West Tampa, FL, Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing a loved one is always tragic, but it’s made even worse when it could have been prevented. When negligence or carelessness is involved, you have the right to seek compensation. The lawyers at Morgan and Morgan are here to support and guide you. A senseless loss of life should be addressed in any way possible. While we are not criminal prosecutors, we can help you and your family recover compensation as a small redress to your losses. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Our compassionate team will endeavor to do all it takes to ensure you have a winning claim.