Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding wrongful death claims.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is a legal action filed by the survivors of an individual killed as a result of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another person, company or entity.
It typically occurs with auto accidents, medical malpractice, workers compensation, prescription drugs, medical devices and defective products.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative of the estate of the person killed. The personal representative makes the claim on behalf of certain survivors, which can include the spouse, children and/or parents, depending upon the individual circumstances of each case.
How Much will it Cost me to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
The fee we charge ranges from 20% to 40% depending upon the amount we recover for you. For a detailed discussion on fees and costs, click Fees & Costs.
What Will I have to Prove to Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In order to succeed in a wrongful death claim, you will have to prove three things: (1) the other side acted in a negligent, reckless or intentional manner; (2) the other side caused the death; and (3) the amount of damages.
In regard to the first thing you must prove, negligence is the failure of a person to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under the same circumstances. The second thing you much prove (causation) occurs when the negligent act produces or contributes substantially to producing the death. The third thing you must prove is your damages.
What Types of Damages can be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim
In a wrongful death lawsuit, damages for each qualified survivor (such as parents, spouse, and children) include medical and funeral expenses; mental pain and suffering; loss of support; and loss of future estate.
If the company or person causing the death acted in an intentional or reckless manner, punitive damages also might be recoverable.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There is no easy answer to this question because it depends on many factors, such as where the death occurred, and who caused the death.
As an example, if an auto accident occurs in Florida that results in death, the survivors have two years in which to file the lawsuit.
If death is caused by a Florida governmental entity, there are papers that need to be filed at least six months before the lawsuit is filed, and the maximum time period in which the lawsuit can be filed is three years.
The most important thing is that you immediately seek free legal advice when you become aware of a death caused by the fault of another, even if you decide not to hire a lawyer. It costs you nothing, but provides you much protection.