If you are confronting the unexpected death of a loved one and the various changes—emotional and financial –that death imposes on your life, you may need help to get through the process. An unexpected death is often a wrongful death, that is, one caused by the carelessness or intentional misconduct of another.
If this is your current situation, let our team of experienced and skilled Tampa wrongful death attorneys assist you in obtaining the financial compensation that will help you put your life back on an even keel. Whether the death resulted from a car accident, medical malpractice, or even an intentional assault, we will stand beside you throughout a painful process and help you to take on the at-fault parties, their insurance companies, and the complexities of the legal system to get you to the best outcome.
Car accidents, for example, are fairly common in Tampa. Similarly, Florida has one of the highest rates of medical malpractice in the United States. Finally, with a large elderly population and the high percentage of ER visits related to slip and fall injuries of elderly patients, Florida experiences a lot of those injuries annually. Given these large numbers of potentially fatal incidents, it is not surprising that Florida also has a large number of wrongful death cases.
Boohoff Law’s wrongful death attorneys in Tampa can help you deal with your losses and devastation in Hillsborough County. Our experienced and skilled group of Tampa personal injury attorneys in west-central Florida knows how to fight for your rights to insurance companies and can help you deal with your case and obtain the compensation you need. Reach out to our trusted team dedicated to getting big results.
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In Florida, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another’s negligence, wrongful act, or violation of a contract or warranty.
To claim wrongful death, the plaintiff must prove:
The complaint must identify all potential beneficiaries, including the estate, and their relationship to the decedent.
Only certain persons can sue for wrongful death in Florida. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file suit on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries and on behalf of the decedent’s survivors, who may or may not be the same people. Generally, the survivors are entitled to more damages
Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, survivors are:
Generally, in a wrongful death cause of action, you can recover for the kinds of damages that the decedent would have recovered in a personal injury action if they had survived.
All survivors can recover:
Decedent’s Spouse can recover:
Decedent’s Minor Children, and all children if no surviving spouse, can recover:
Decedent’s Parents can recover:
Personal Representative of Decedent’s Estate can recover:
It’s easy enough to say that survivors can recover something, but sometimes it helps to explain what those terms mean. Let’s look at some of them.
Pain and suffering are non-economic damages under Florida law. That is, they are subjective and difficult to calculate. The term refers to the physical discomfort and the emotional pain a victim suffers after an accident. Mood disorders, chronic pain, and similar suffering can all fit into this category.
Certain familial relationships include, by their nature, providing guidance, instruction, cooperation, and support. These damages are generally only available to surviving spouses and children.
Each surviving family member will have been the recipient of support in the form of money, property, or physical labor from the deceased and can recover the value of that property. An example is the spouse’s services around the house that a commercial service must now provide.
Any family member can recover out-of-pocket funds for the decedent’s medical costs and funeral expenses through the wrongful death claim.
Available only to the estate, the future lost earnings include wages, salaries, commissions, and potential pension benefits that the deceased might have earned.
Only the estate can recover the value of investments or income that the deceased might have earned or accumulated over time.
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Wrongful death arises in many of the same circumstances as personal injury cases.
Among the more common causes of wrongful death are:
Experienced wrongful death lawyers like those at Boohoff Law can help you evaluate your case to determine whether the cause of death of your loved one will support a viable wrongful death case. Let us help you find the way toward a successful resolution of your case.
Generally, to recover on wrongful death, the personal representative must file within two years of the date of death for the decedent. There are, however, some exceptions.
If medical malpractice prompts the wrongful death case, the plaintiff must comply with the medical malpractice statutes of limitations that require filing within two years of the time the malpractice is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. The law will never permit a suit filed more than four years after the injury. Thus, for a med-mal case, you may have a longer statute of limitations.
A wrongful death case against a state or government may need to begin far sooner, so please call Boohoff Law without hesitating.
Finally, if one of the defendants in a wrongful death case dies, you must file a motion seeking to substitute that individual’s personal representative for the original defendant within 90 days of the death. Failure to do this on time can end your case forever.
As you can see, the tricky nature of the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is yet one more reason why working with experienced wrongful death counsel like those at Boohoff Law can significantly help the progress of your case.
Wrongful death cases are, of course, very much based on the facts and circumstances of the underlying death and the relationship of the deceased to the survivors. A responsible lawyer cannot accurately evaluate your claim without a full case review.
When a loved one dies, especially for reasons that make no sense, the survivors struggle to deal with their anguish and the monumental changes in their lives. Don’t try to navigate the complexities of the wrongful death statutes and the intricacies of negotiating with insurance companies on your own.
Let the attorneys at Boohoff Law stand beside you to advocate for the damages you need and deserve from the wrongful death of your loved one. Contact us online today or call (813) 445-8161 for a no-cost initial consultation and case evaluation. Let us help you shoulder the burden of survival and get a financial recovery that will let you move on with your life.
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Parents might not recover pain and suffering damages if the deceased child was over 25 unless there were no other survivors. If medical malpractice caused the wrongful death, survivors cannot recover pain and suffering damages.
Under Florida law, the personal representative has a legal duty to pay the proceeds to the various survivors fairly and equitably. Many lawyers recommend that the personal representative seek court approval of all distributions to survivors and the estate. This will help prevent fights over who got what.
Boohoff Law’s knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys will work with you regarding the settlement distribution and get court approval for your suggested distributions.
Most wrongful death attorneys will handle your case on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee agreement, which the American Bar Association requires be in writing, will set out the agreement between you and your attorney for the fees in your case. Instead of an hourly fee, your attorney will receive a percentage of your final award.
The attorney will also pay all of the court costs and other expenses upfront, and the eventual handling of these must also be in your contingency fee agreement.
Finally, the agreement will provide that your attorney will only receive payment after a successful outcome of your case. The agreement will define the successful outcome and may set different payment amounts depending on when it settles or a court grants an award.