Losing a loved one is never easy. For those who lose a loved one to wrongful death, there is some hope to pursue justice and financial compensation.
Florida state law surrounding personal injury claims and wrongful death claims are extensive and difficult to decipher without a background in law. This is only one of the many reasons why working with a legal representative is the best way to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Because these cases can become so complicated, working with experienced wrongful death lawyers is crucial. While representing yourself is always an option in the United States, it’s not usually recommended.
Read on to learn more about what wrongful death lawyers can do for you and your family and why you should hire one today.
In order to prove wrongful death, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the death of their loved one was caused by a third party. Typically, this comes down to either negligence or intentional harm.
These cases often resemble personal injury claims. If you’re unfamiliar with personal injury claims, common examples include medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, car accidents, and workplace accidents. The difference is that the victim of a wrongful death claim wasn’t merely injured–they lost their lives.
When a victim was intentionally killed, wrongful death claims are still valid, although they are separate from any criminal charges brought on by the state. What this entails is that the family of the victim seeks compensation from the defendant for their crime but the state takes the action of potentially imprisoning the defendant.
Wrongful death is one of the hardest cases to win in civil court, especially if the death was caused by negligence as opposed to foul play. It is often easier for a defendant to build the case that the death was not preventable by them than it is for the plaintiff to prove that the defendant is responsible for the death.
The discovery phase is one of the most important parts of a wrongful death claim. This is where you’ll find that having a lawyer is absolutely crucial.
Depositions are often needed to build a wrongful death case. A deposition happens outside of the court and gives lawyers the opportunity to question any witnesses or other involved parties. The testimony given during the deposition process may be used in court, which is why it’s important to ask the right questions of the right people.
To get a sense of the complexities of a wrongful death claim and what a lawyer can help you accomplish, let’s take a look at the four things you must prove to win your wrongful death claim.
First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. In other words, you must establish the relationship between the defendant and the victim and that the victim had some obligation to keep the victim safe.
For example, all doctors owe their patients a duty of care. That means that they are expected to provide their patients with the best treatment within reason of their training and abilities.
Drivers also owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road, including other drivers and pedestrians. We are all expected to follow the rules of the road and use our best judgment when operating a vehicle.
Once you’ve established a duty of care owed by the defendant, you must prove that they failed to honor that duty of care. This is where negligence or intentional harm becomes important.
Let’s look at another example involving medical malpractice. If a doctor misdiagnoses a patient but did everything they reasonably could to reach a diagnosis, this is an unfortunate accident but is not considered a breach of duty of care. However, if that doctor failed to take into account a patient’s symptoms or medical history, this is a breach of duty of care.
Similarly, if a driver gets into an accident in spite of their careful and attentive driving, this is not considered a breach of duty of care. However, if the driver was distracted by their cellphone or driving while under the influence, this is a breach of duty of care.
It’s not enough to establish both a duty of care and a breach of that duty. You must also be able to prove that these two conditions directly caused the death of the victim. Once again, this is not always easy to do.
Many cases are not straightforward. For example, the victim of a car crash may not die on impact but instead, die days or weeks later due to related complications. When these kinds of scenarios arise, the plaintiff’s defense team may try to spin the story to say that the victim died of a pre-existing condition or some other factor that is unrelated to their client.
Florida allows you to seek compensation for a variety of expenses. It is important that you know what you can claim as damages owed and who is entitled to receiving those damages. Rightful compensation can change based on factors like the victim’s dependents, salary, related medical expenses, and more.
If you lost a loved one to wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation that can bring some ease to a terrible situation. Working with experienced wrongful death lawyers is the best way to alleviate some of that burden and improve your chances of winning your case.
To work with Dante Law Firm, begin with a free case evaluation. It is important to us that we provide you with a thorough assessment of your case before you sign any contracts with us or file your claim.