Winter Haven Wrongful Death Lawyer
The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one is difficult enough to handle, but when that death was preventable, it compounds the grief tenfold. Unfortunately, the reality is that negligent or wrongful conduct can result in death. Consider, for example, some common examples:
- A drunk driver causes a collision that results in the death of the other driver.
- A defective component in a household appliance causes a fatal fire.
- A liquid spill left on the floor of a supermarket causes a slip-and-fall accident that results in a fatal traumatic brain injury.
- An intentional assault leaves the victim with fatal injuries.
In each of these examples, the negligent or wrongful conduct of another party led to the death of an innocent victim or, in legal terms, a “wrongful” death. Florida law allows surviving loved ones to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation when a death was preventable. If you believe that the death of a loved one was preventable, a Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer at Kemp Injury Law can help. Nothing can bring your loved one back; however, we can help ensure that the at-fault party is held accountable and recover damages for medical and funeral expenses as well as compensation for your loss of future financial and emotional support.
What Is a Wrongful Death in Florida?
From an emotional standpoint, it is almost always difficult to accept the death of a loved one. The law, however, must decide when the circumstances surrounding a death create a legally actionable “wrongful” death. In the State of Florida, the Florida Wrongful Death Act (FWDA) defines a wrongful death as “…the death of a person that is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued…”
Torts is the area of the law that allows a victim to pursue compensation for injury to their person or property from an at-fault party or parties. A wrongful death tort case can be based on intentionally wrong conduct, strict liability, or negligence.
Assault is the most common type of intentional tort on which a wrongful death lawsuit can be based. Although the perpetrator of an assault may also be charged with a criminal offense, if the assault resulted in the death of the victim surviving family members may also pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.
Strict liability torts that may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit in the State of Florida include things such as dog bites and defective products if the victim’s injuries were fatal.
Most wrongful death lawsuits, however, are based on negligence. Negligence is based on a duty of care that was owed to the decedent and that was subsequently breached by the defendant. For example, anyone who operates a motor vehicle on a public roadway owes a duty of care to other vehicles. Driving while under the influence is a breach of that duty of care. Therefore, if a drunk driver kills someone in a collision, it may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
In the State of Florida, only the decedent’s personal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, that means the Executor of the decedent’s estate. Although the personal representative must file a wrongful death lawsuit, other surviving loved ones may be entitled to recover damages from the responsible party (or parties), including:
- The decedent’s spouse.
- The decedent’s children.
- The decedent’s parents.
- When partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters.
- Children born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.
How Long Do I Have to File a Winter Haven Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
All personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death cases, are governed by a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations established the time frame within which litigation must be initiated. The lawsuit does not need to be resolved within the applicable statute of limitations, but it must be filed. In the State of Florida, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is usually just two years from the date of death. This is one of the many reasons why you should consult with an experienced Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer immediately if you suspect that the death of a loved one was preventable.
What Compensation Might Be Available in a Winter Haven Wrongful Death Case?
Because the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, damages (compensation) awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit may be awarded to the estate and/or to eligible survivors. Damages awarded to the estate may include:
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid directly by the estate.
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived.
- Lost “prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the decedent had lived.
Damages awarded to the survivors may include:
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person.
- The value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family member.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child.
Get Reliable, Experienced Legal Help with Your Winter Haven Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death impacts the surviving loved ones for the rest of their lives. The emotional and financial toll it takes on survivors can be catastrophic. Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit cannot turn back the clock and prevent the death from happening, but it can hold the negligent or wrongful party (or parties) legally responsible. It can also relieve some of the stress felt by surviving loved ones who depended on the decedent for financial support.
Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer Adam Kemp is devoted to pursuing justice for the survivors of a wrongful death. We understand the unbearable grief you are experiencing. Let the caring and compassionate team at Kemp Personal Injury Law use their experience, resources, and dedication to ensure that the responsible party (or parties) is held accountable and that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your loss.
If you believe that the death of a loved one was preventable, contact an experienced Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer at Kemp Personal Injury Law to discuss your legal options. It is our mission to make sure that surviving loved ones of a preventable death are fully and fairly compensated by the responsible party or parties. Contact the team today for your free initial consultation by calling 863-225-0254 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.