Losing a loved one is always painful but if your loss was caused by the negligence of others your stress level soars and you need to seek out an experienced Naples wrongful death attorney. The wrongful death law in Florida can be tricky and you are going to want a Naples attorney who has proven experience in not only wrongful death laws but probate law as well.
In Florida the definition of wrongful death is one caused by “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” In short, if there is a death from other than natural causes there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
There are three elements that must be present to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit:
- We have already mentioned there has to be a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty
- The conduct upon which the lawsuit is based must have caused the death of the decedent. This is where it can get murky if the deceased doesn’t die immediately after the event.If a motorist hits a cyclist and breaks the cyclist’s hip, and then 4 weeks later the cyclist’s new hip gives way and he strikes his head and dies, who do you sue; the doctor or the motorist who caused the replacement of the hip?
- The conduct that is the basis of the lawsuit would have entitled the person injured to file a lawsuit and recover damages if they had not died.
If You Have a Case Can You Sue?
The first thing you need to establish is if you have a case at all. We know that it sounds pretty simple but there have been so many different judicial rulings that establish precedents that there is no way someone not a lawyer to make a reasonable determination. You need to consult a Naples lawyer like Martin, Lister & Alvarez to sort out the facts and develop a strategy to go forward.
In Florida there are two classes that can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The first is a suit filed on behalf of the deceased’s estate by its personal representative and if successful is divided among the beneficiaries of the estate. However, these lawsuits limit what can be sued for and typically have a much lower financial award than the second class of plaintiff.
The personal representative can also sue on behalf of the survivors, survivors being defined as spouses, parents of a minor child, the decedent’s children and other blood relatives who were at least partially dependent on the decedent. The types of damages allowed in a survivor’s lawsuit can result in higher awards.
It’s complicated. If you need some direction or clarification feel free to submit your case to our legal team for a complimentary case review today.