Wrongful Death Attorneys in Tallahassee, Florida
If you have lost a loved one because of the negligent or even intentional act of another, there is no way to bring the person back; however, you can hold the responsible party accountable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death lawsuit is different from a criminal charge in that the only result can be an award of monetary compensation for your loss. In some cases, a criminal case may also ensue, but that would be up to police and prosecutors to undertake.
Under Florida law, the personal representative of the deceased person must file the lawsuit. A personal representative is a person named in the will of the one who has died.
Family members cannot initiate the lawsuit themselves, but if there is no will or trust, the court will appoint a personal representative, generally from among family members. The representative, or the “executor” of the estate, is responsible to the family members for distributing the monetary damages awarded.
If you have lost a loved one in Tallahassee, Quincy, Gainesville, Jacksonville, or Monticello, Florida, contact Larry K. White, LLC, to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the responsible party accountable.
Our attorneys have more than four decades of combined experience, and we will aggressively pursue your case to achieve the best possible result.
Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If your family member or loved one has lost their life due to an accident on the road, at work, due to medical malpractice, or because of a defective product or device, you cannot do anything to reverse the consequences, but you can hold the other party responsible for your loss.
Florida Statute 768.21 states:
“Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor may be considered. In computing the duration of future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and the period of minority, in the case of healthy minor children, may be considered.”
What this means is that survivors are eligible to recover “damages” for:
The loss of the support and services the deceased person provided to family members
The loss of the deceased person's companionship and protection
Your mental pain and suffering
The loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
Medical and funeral expenses
Lost wages and benefits from the date of the deceased’s injury to the date of death
The value of earnings and benefits the deceased could have contributed when they were alive
However, under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, adult children 25 and older can only recover for lost parental companionship, guidance, and instruction if there is no surviving spouse.
Proving Your Case in Court
Unlike a criminal case in which a defendant must be shown to be guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is often a high legal bar to hurdle, a civil action in a wrongful death lawsuit requires only that a “preponderance of evidence” shows the defendant to be responsible.
To prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must generally prove three elements:
Duty of Care: The defendant had a duty of care toward the deceased person. If the loved one’s death was a result of a car accident, Florida laws require all drivers to operate their vehicles with responsibility for the safety of others. If the death occurred because of a medical incident, the attending physicians or other medical practitioners had a duty of care.
Breach of the Duty of Care: The alleged responsible party – the defendant – must be shown to have breached their duty of care. In an auto accident, it must be shown that some action or inaction by the defendant broke that duty of care. For instance, he or she may have been speeding, made an unsafe lane change, or otherwise violated safe driving standards.
In medical malpractice, you would have to show that the defendant did something that breached the medical profession’s standards of care. In this case, you would definitely need an attorney’s help and investigative resources. If a defective product or device led to death, then again it would be necessary to show that the design or manufacture of the product breached safety protocols.
Causation: The breach of the defendant’s duty of care directly led to the death of the loved one or family member.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, you have two years after the death of the loved one to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Attorneys
Serving Tallahassee, Florida
If your loved one was wrongfully injured and died as a result of another party’s actions, you deserve justice as well as fair financial compensation. While you recover emotionally from your loss, let us work to hold the other party or parties accountable and bring you the just compensation you deserve. Contact the attorneys at Larry K. White, LLC, to initiate your wrongful death lawsuit. We proudly serve clients in Tallahassee, Quincy/Gadsden County, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Monticello/Jefferson County, Florida.