Tampa Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful death occurs when a person is killed as a result of the negligent act of another. That negligence can result from the act of another person, as in a car wreck, or by the act of a corporation, such as when a bad drug causes a death. If a relative or spouse is killed by the negligent act of a person or corporation, the survivors may be entitled to damages.
In Florida, in order to be entitled to recover under the wrongful death statute, you must generally be a blood relative of the deceased, like a parent or child, or a spouse. Other blood relatives like a brother, sister, grandparent or adopted child may also be eligible to recover if they were financially dependent on the deceased. The estate of the deceased may also be included in the list of survivors eligible to recover damages. It is the personal representative of the deceased who will bring the case to court on behalf of the estate and the survivors. If the decedent had a will, the personal representative would be named in the will. If the decedent died without a will, the remaining family members would have to name a representative and a probate case would be opened.
Damages in a wrongful death case can include the value of lost financial support, companionship, mental pain, suffering, medical and funeral expenses. If the medical bills are paid by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, then those agencies must be paid back from any recovery. Damages will be much higher if the deceased was employed, as future loss of earnings and pensions are included in the damage calculation. Damages can also include punitive damages if the death was caused by extreme cruelty or willful negligence. Wrongful death caused by medical negligence has additional restrictions on who may make a financial recovery. Deaths caused by workplace injuries are not governed by Florida's wrongful death statute.
Defenses to a wrongful death claim can include lack of causation, comparative negligence and imputed comparative negligence, when one or more beneficiaries is partially responsible for the death of their relative. Florida's wrongful death statute is codified in Florida Statutes 768.16 to 768.26.
The statute of limitations in Florida for wrongful death is 2 years from the date of death.
If you need additional information about Florida's Wrongful Death Statute, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Harris & Riviere.
Our office in Tampa can be reached at (813) 669-2080, or contact us online.
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