The period following a fatal accident can be an extremely difficult time for the victim’s family. In addition to grieving for their loss, the family members may also be confronted with costly medicals bills, as well as the loss of income or support of the deceased.
At Morgan & Morgan, our wrongful death attorneys have decades of combined experience helping families in the St. Petersburg area recover financially after the death of a loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit may help ease the financial burden you and your family are facing following the death of a loved one.
If your spouse or immediate family member has died in an accident involving negligence, medical malpractice, or another type of wrongful act, our wrongful death attorneys in St. Petersburg may be able to help. Fill out our free case review form today for a no-cost, no obligation consultation from our St. Petersburg office.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The following types of damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit:
Medical and Funeral Expenses: Through a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving spouse and certain relatives of the decedent may be able to recover medical costs incurred as a result of the incident that lead to the victim’s death. In addition, funeral expenses may be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Loss of Income and Retirement Benefits: The victim’s spouse and family members may be able to receive compensation for the value of lost earnings and retirement benefits. To determine the value of this loss, our wrongful death attorneys will work with economic experts and actuaries who will review the decedent’s employment history and explain to a jury, if necessary, the economic loss that the family will suffer as a result of the wrongful death.
Loss of Services: In cases where the decedent performed household services for the family, the surviving spouse, and certain family members may be eligible to receive compensation for the value of these services.
Loss of Parental Companionship: Minor children (and adult children if the decedent does not have a surviving spouse) may be entitled to compensation for loss of parental companionship, guidance, and instruction.
Punitive Damages: Although rare, punitive damages are awarded by courts in cases involving intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent conduct. Punitive damages are intended to discourage others from engaging in similarly dangerous behavior.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act specifies who may file a lawsuit in the event a loved one is killed due to negligence, malpractice, or another type of wrongful act. The following relatives may be able to receive compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Blood relatives who were dependent on the victim for support or services; and
- Adoptive brothers or sisters who were dependent on the victim for support or services.
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a personal representative of the deceased generally must be the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit. Usually, the personal representative is named in the decedent’s will. If the will does not name a personal representative or if the decedent did not have a will, a court may appoint the surviving spouse as the personal representative. If the decedent did not have a surviving spouse, the personal representative is chosen by a majority vote of the heirs. If the decedent’s heirs are unable to select a personal representative, the court will appoint one.
Causes of Wrongful Death in St. Petersburg
Our wrongful death attorneys handle lawsuits involving:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Boat and jet-ski accidents
- Birth injuries
- Defective products, including prescription drugs and defective medical devices
- Unsafe premises
- Workplace accidents, including exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Pedestrian and bike accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Drowning accidents
If your spouse or family member has died because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another, a St. Petersburg wrongful death attorney may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses. Please contact our St. Petersburg office for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.