Wrongful Death

Theodore C. Eastmoore  |  Patricia D. Crauwels  |  E. Keith DuBose  |  Warren H. Chin

A wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a result of another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. Wrongful death lawsuits seek compensation for the losses suffered by the survivors of the deceased. These losses potentially include lost earnings, lost emotional and physical companionship, funeral expenses, and more.

Why Matthews Eastmoore?

The death of a loved one is a very traumatic experience. More painful still is when the death is caused by the negligent or unlawful acts of another. At Matthews Eastmoore, our attorneys are experienced in wrongful death litigation. We help guide you and your loved ones through the difficult process of filing a wrongful death suit in the aftermath of suffering such a traumatic event.

What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death cases hold accountable parties whose actions do not live up to society’s expectations. All of us are owed a standard of care from one another that is reasonable. When this standard is not met, individuals may die and their loved ones suffer tragic losses.

To prove that a wrongful death occurred, a party must show that another person had a duty of care to the deceased, the person’s actions or omissions breached that duty of care, and that death and damages resulted.

In order to prove each of these elements, it is best to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to begin to develop your case.

Common situations in which a wrongful death may occur include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Workplace accidents
  • Product or machinery malfunction
  • Improper car or road design, or faulty construction
  • Reckless behavior

Who Can Sue

A wrongful death action is brought by the personal representative of the deceased, who sues on behalf of the decedent’s survivors who have suffered damage caused by the death. Immediate family members, such as parents, spouses, children, and dependents, may receive compensation as result of the damages they suffered.

When You May Sue

There are legal limitations on the amount of time that can elapse between a victim’s injuries and the filing of a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the injury.

In Florida, the statute of limitations requires that a wrongful death suit be filed within two years of the death.

There are few exceptions, so it is best to consult with a lawyer before your case gets near the deadline.

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death suit is filed on behalf of the people who had a personal relationship with the deceased, such as the victim’s spouse, children, or parents. These survivors may be awarded monetary compensation for the wrongful death. Different types of compensatory damages may be awarded depending on the survivor’s relationship to the victim.

In calculating damages, the jury takes into consideration factors such as the age and earning power of the deceased, the loss of care and companionship to the survivors, and pain and suffering by the survivors.

Compensatory:

There are two main types of compensatory damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case. The first is damages awarded to the dependent survivors of the deceased for loss of protection, companionship, and for mental pain and suffering. These damages compensate for the pain of loss for the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased.

The second type of damages is for lost earnings and benefits. In this category, the estate may also recover funeral expenses and medical bills.

Common examples of compensatory damages include:

  • Mental pain and suffering for the spouse, minor children, or parents if the victim was a minor
  • Loss of companionship and protection for the victim’s spouse, as well as mental pain and suffering
  • Loss of parental companionship and guidance for the decedent’s minor children
  • Lost support and loss of future support for the survivors
  • Medical or funeral expenses

Punitive:

In some instances, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages may be awarded if the conduct which caused the death was intentional or particularly negligent or reckless. They are a means used to punish and deter the behavior of the defendant.

If you feel you have been affected by a wrongful death, please call our office at 941-366-8888 or schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.

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The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. We do not undertake representation of your claims until all parties involved have entered into a signed agreement. If we have not entered into a signed agreement with you, you may want to speak with other attorneys regarding your claims since statutes of limitations may apply.