After a loved one’s untimely death, you may want to pursue legal action against the parties responsible. But how do you prove wrongful death? Proving wrongful death in Florida typically involves establishing that the death occurred due to someone else’s negligence, intentional act, or misconduct. Florida has specific laws and requirements for bringing a wrongful death claim, which include establishing that the other party owed your loved one a duty of care, they breached that duty, and your family member’s death was the direct result of that negligence or misconduct.
If you are ready to pursue a claim against someone for the wrongful death of your loved one, the team at James Horne Law PA is here to help. We will explain how Florida’s wrongful death statute works and help you find a way forward following this tragedy.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?
Establishing your wrongful death claim requires you to prove that someone breached the duty of care they owed to your loved one and that their action or inaction caused your loved one’s death. Below, we will explain each element and what it takes to prove your wrongful death claim.
Duty of Care
To establish a wrongful death claim, you must first show that the party you are suing owed a duty of care to the deceased person. This means demonstrating that the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and prudently towards the deceased.
Breach of Duty
You must then show that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act reasonably or engaging in negligent or wrongful conduct. This breach must have directly caused or contributed to the individual’s death. This is an excellent time to focus on gathering evidence, including medical records, accident reports, witness statements, expert testimony, and other relevant documentation. Having evidence to support your case is crucial to proving both the existence of the duty of a third party to your loved one and the breach of that duty. In addition to documents, you will want witnesses who can testify about the circumstances leading to the death and its impact on survivors.
You will need to demonstrate a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the deceased person’s death. This is the most critical factor in determining wrongful death. Causation often requires expert testimony and medical evidence to establish that the defendant’s actions or negligence were the proximate cause of death. In some circumstances, you should also be prepared to prove that the death resulted from negligence, such as in a car accident or medical malpractice, or an intentional wrongful act, such as assault or homicide.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, only certain family members and dependents can bring a wrongful death claim. You must establish that you are a qualifying survivor or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Survivors may include the deceased person’s spouse, children, including adopted and qualifying step-children, parents, and certain other blood relatives who were dependent on the deceased for support or services.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida law imposes a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, generally requiring that the lawsuit be filed within two years of the date of death. Failing to file within this timeframe can result in the inability to obtain the justice you deserve. A knowledgeable wrongful death attorney can help you navigate how and when to file your claim.
How Much Is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
Damages may include medical and funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, mental pain and suffering, and other losses incurred due to the death. The amount you can recover will depend on the facts of your case, and you will need to provide evidence of damages suffered by the survivors or the estate due to the wrongful death.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
Be sure to seek legal representation from an experienced wrongful death attorney who understands Florida’s laws and procedures. An attorney can help you gather evidence, navigate the legal process, and present a strong case in court or during settlement negotiations.
Proving wrongful death in Florida can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. Working with an attorney specializing in wrongful death cases is essential to ensure that you follow the necessary legal procedures and build a compelling case to seek justice and compensation for the loss of your loved one.
Speak with the James Horne Law Team Today
At James Horne Law PA, we are committed to our clients’ success. We pride ourselves on taking the time to understand the full nature of your legal claim. Our legal team gives each case the full attention it deserves. We are skilled negotiators and litigators, and we do not rest until we help you obtain the best possible result in your case. Contact us today by phone or email for a confidential consultation to learn more about how we can help.