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Wrongful death is a civil action claim filed against another party who was responsible for a person’s death, due to negligence or misconduct. If you’ve lost a loved one and you believe that person died through the fault of another person or entity, you may have the right to bring a wrongful death suit seeking compensation.
It is vital that you consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney. The statute of limitations for filing suit is two years from the time of death, so immediate action should be taken. At Morgan & Morgan, our St. Augustine attorney will help you seek justice and the compensation your family deserves for having needlessly lost your loved one. Complete our case review form to learn more.
Some of the most common wrongful death cases are related to the following:
- Car accidents
- Birth injuries
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Faulty or defective products
Who has the right to file a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death case must be filed by a representative of the survivors of the deceased, particularly the who have suffered the most damage as a result of the loss, such as spouse or children. The representative may be also the executor of the decedent’s estate. Qualifying survivors are the immediate family, or parents if these do not exist, but may also include other dependents, and in some rare cases, more distant relatives such as siblings and grandparents.
What types of damages can be claimed?
- Economic damages: The loss of the financial contributions and value of goods and services the victim would have made to the survivors if still alive. Economic damage will also include medical bills incurred prior to death, and funeral expenses.
- Non-economic damages: These damages are higher. This category would include mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of guidance, loss of love and companionship, and other more personal damages.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, damages intended to punish are awarded. These cases are those in which intentional misconduct or acts of gross negligence led to the death of the person.
- Attorney fees: In many cases, the cost of your legal counsel will also be awarded in cases of wrongful death.
Calculating damages can be extremely complicated. A wrongful death claim may require the assistance of expert witnesses, economists, actuaries, or mental health professionals. Calculations regarding the value of damages will vary in complexity, based upon how the death occurred. The court takes into account a number of considerations, including the relationship between the survivor and the deceased, the amount of income earned by the survivor when alive, and many other factors.
The award in a wrongful death suit can vary, based upon the relationship to the decedent:
- Spouse: Loss of the decedent’s companionship, and pain and suffering.
- Children: Lost companionship, guidance, pain and suffering.
- Parent: Pain and suffering.
- All of the above: The value of lost support and services and future losses, plus funeral expenses.
We understand the profound grief and sense of loss when a treasured family member dies suddenly, which is particularly tragic when the death could have been avoided. We have seen the struggles and emotional turmoil a family faces when a loved one is lost. Our goal is to pursue the maximum possible for the close family in the interests of justice. We will go the distance for you – get a free consultation now.