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The Complexities of Wrongful Death Cases in Florida

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Nothing is more devastating than losing a loved one. When the loss is the result of the misconduct or negligence of another person, it is an even more bitter pill to swallow. In such circumstances, a good attorney can be indispensable as the intricacies of wrongful death are addressed in a court of law.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death suits revolve around a negligent or intentionally harmful action or circumstance with resulting monetary shortfalls for members of the decedent’s family. Generally someone is appointed to represent the estate in such a suit. Typical situations for these claims are vehicular accidents, hazardous conditions or substances in the workplace, criminal actions, and medical malpractice. Each of these circumstances is unique, and different legal precedents may impact the thinking of the court.

Who May File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In Florida, family members who are eligible to recover financial benefits from a wrongful death suit include the spouse, parents and children of the deceased. Additionally, others who are partially or totally dependent on the deceased person for support or services and who are blood relatives or adoptive siblings may recover damages.

“Support or Services”

If a survivor of the decedent can establish that a previously regularly provided service will have to be paid for in the future, that cost may be included in the lawsuit. Typically, services are household or property related, such as annual pruning of vegetation, fence maintenance, or the like. The court may find that these upcoming service-related expenses, which were once provided for by the deceased, are relevant costs for which there must be an accounting.

What Does the Law Provide?

Damages in these situations can be ample. Costs associated with the loss of income and services are a primary consideration. In addition, a surviving spouse may be eligible for money associated with loss of companionship, and emotional/mental suffering. Loss of parental companionship and instruction may also be considered for children.

Other expenditures often considered by the courts include medical and/or funeral expenses.

What Factors Make Wrongful Death Suits Particularly Complicated?

One of the issues that complicate determinations in wrongful death cases is the fact that families themselves are often quite complex. What if the decedent has both minor and adult children? Children from multiple previous spouses, or even children from relationships where no legal connection has been established prior to death are not uncommon. Many families enjoy half-siblings, stepsiblings, and adoptive siblings. And what if the decedent has parents or siblings who are financially dependent on earnings?

Beyond making a case for negligence or misconduct, these are just a few of the issues that must be addressed in a wrongful death suit. The wrongful death attorneys at Scoma Law Firm in Clermont have experience when it comes to investigative work and legal disputes with insurance companies and opposing lawyers. Let our knowledge of legal precedent work to your benefit. Contact our office today for a free consultation with our compassionate and well-informed team.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.21.html

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