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Wrongful Death Claims after the Loss of a Loved One

The death of a loved one can be a devastating experience. If someone else’s negligence caused the death, you might be able to file a wrongful death claim. In Florida, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. You will not be able to pursue compensation if you do not file within this timeframe. An experienced wrongful death attorney like those at The Briggs Law Firm can help you navigate the legal process and pursue compensation for your losses.

Types of Compensation for Wrongful Death

Compensation in a wrongful death case can include damages for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the death was caused by gross negligence or malice, you might also be able to seek punitive damages. Chapter 768 of the Florida Statute provides action for the death of a person caused by the negligence of another. The term “negligence” generally means failure to use reasonable care. Reasonable care is the degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would use under similar circumstances to avoid injury or damage.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

In Florida, only certain family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These include:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • The child or children of the deceased
  • The parents of the deceased

–  The personal representative of the deceased’s estate

There are some exceptions to these rules. For example, if the deceased was unmarried and had no children, only the deceased’s parents or the personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Common Examples of Wrongful Death Cases in Florida

There are many examples of wrongful death cases in Florida. Some of the more common cases involve:

–  Car accidents caused by negligent drivers

–  Medical malpractice resulting in death

–  Workplace accidents resulting in death

–  Defective product-related fatalities

Car Fatalities Caused by a Negligent Driver

According to World Population Review, Florida is number 3, just behind Texas and California, respectively, for fatal car accidents (2,915) in 2022.  Types of negligent vehicular accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Distracted driving
  •  Drunk driving
  • Speeding

–  Reckless driving

If you have lost a loved one due to a car accident caused by any of the above, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. To do so, it will need to be proven that the driver was negligent and that their negligence led to the death of your loved one.

Death Caused by Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits are some of the most challenging cases to win in Florida. To prove that medical negligence was the cause of death, plaintiffs must show that the death was directly caused by the medical provider’s negligence. This can be incredibly difficult to do, which is why having an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your medical malpractice claim is essential. Examples of medical malpractice include, but are not limited to:

  • Medication Error

Patients can die due to medical malpractice in a few different ways. One common way is due to wrongful medication errors. This can happen when a patient is given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of medication. Medication errors can also occur when a doctor prescribes a medication that interacts poorly with the patient’s other medications.

  • Wrongful Surgery

Another common cause of death due to medical malpractice is wrongful surgery. This can happen when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part or leaves a surgical instrument inside the patient’s body. It can also happen when a surgeon performs a procedure that wasn’t necessary in the first place.

Workplace-related Accidents

Some common types of workplace accidents that can lead to wrongful death include:

  • Falls from heights
  •  Electrocutions

–   Crushed by heavy machinery or falling objects

  • Exposure to hazardous materials

–   Vehicle collisions

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to sue the property owner, the general contractor, the subcontractor, or the manufacturer of defective equipment.

Product Malfunction and Product Liability Claims

In Florida, there are two types of product liability claims: negligence and strict liability. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the manufacturer or seller knew or should have known about the defect and failed to warn consumers. To prove strict liability, the plaintiff does not need to show that the manufacturer or seller was at fault, only that the product was defective. Some examples of defective product-related deaths are:

  • Automotive defects such as faulty airbags, seat belt malfunctions, car seat defects, and defective brakes.
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Children’s furniture and toys
  • Faulty electronics

The law can hold multiple parties responsible for defective products that cause wrongful deaths. Besides the manufacturers, those charged with distributing or selling such items could also fall within this category.

Speak to an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney About Your Situation

You may be entitled to compensation if you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful actions. Schedule an appointment with our wrongful death attorney to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options. We take special care and are particularly sensitive to the wrongful death claims we handle. We want to talk to you if you have lost a loved one to any negligent injury. Call The Briggs Law Firm in Ocala at 352-671-4600.