What You Need To Prove in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act creates liability for damages caused by a wrongful death if the person who died could have filed a claim for damages had they lived. However, even though the statute establishes a right of action, the family has to prove the legal elements of a wrongful death claim before they can recover damages from the party who caused their loved one’s death.
What Do I Need To Prove To Win a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
The legal elements of a Florida wrongful death case are:
Duty of Care
The defendant (person who caused your loved one’s death) must have owned a duty of care to your family member. A duty is an obligation or requirement to act in a specific way.
For example, property owners have a duty of care to people entering their property to keep the premises safe. Likewise, Florida motorists have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws to avoid causing accidents.
Breach of Duty of Care
The defendant’s conduct breached the duty of care because the defendant failed to use reasonable care. For example, a driver was texting while driving, speeding, or tailgating. Another example might be a business owner failing to repair a leaky pipe and failing to warn customers of wet floors.
The breach of duty must be a direct and proximate cause of the person’s death. You have the burden of establishing that the defendant’s actions caused your family member’s death. If you cannot create a chain of causation, beginning with the breach of duty and ending with your loved one’s death, you could lose the case.
The Wrongful Death Act outlines the damages that survivors can receive for a wrongful death claim. Each survivor can receive compensation for the value of lost services and support from the person’s injury until their death. They can also receive an amount for the future loss of services and support.
The survivors may also receive other damages for a wrongful death claim, depending on their relationship with the deceased. For example, a surviving spouse is entitled to compensation for loss of protection and companionship. A minor child can receive compensation for the loss of instruction, parental companionship, and guidance.
Most survivors can receive compensation for mental pain and suffering. If a survivor paid the expenses for the funeral and burial, they could also receive reimbursement for these expenses as damages.
What Type of Evidence Is Used To Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?
Generally, evidence proving that the defendant caused the person’s death is the same type of evidence that would be used to prove a personal injury claim. However, the evidence must prove the injury led to the person’s death.
The types of evidence used in wrongful death cases can include:
- Medical records
- Opinions from medical specialists, accident reconstructionists, and other expert witnesses
- Accident reports and police reports
- Statements from witnesses and parties involved in the accident
- Videos and photographs of the accident scene
The type of evidence used depends on the case. Your Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer investigates the accident or circumstances of your loved one’s death to identify the responsible party and gather evidence proving causation and fault. By proving causation and fault, the lawyer establishes liability for damages.
Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida
The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of death. If you do not file a lawsuit before the deadline, you lose the right to pursue a claim in court for wrongful death.
You may also want to read about: What is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in Jacksonville?
What Types of Personal Injury Cases Lead to Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
All personal injury cases can lead to a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death can be caused by defective products, automobile accidents, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, and other personal injury incidents. The common factor is that some died because of the acts of another party.
What Should I Do if Someone Caused My Family Member’s Death?
Losing a loved one is traumatic and heartbreaking. It is common to feel overwhelmed, especially when the death is sudden and unexpected. When another party’s negligence or wrongdoing causes the death, it is common to feel anger and frustration because the death was preventable.
While you might not be thinking about legal action, you might want to consult a Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer. An attorney can explain the legal options for pursuing a claim against the person who caused your family member’s death.
Money cannot replace your loved one or ease the pain you experience after their death. However, pursuing a wrongful death claim can provide money to help take care of your family and also provide a measure of closure as you seek justice for your loved one.
Contact the Jacksonville Wrongful Death Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202