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Bradenton Wrongful Death Lawyer

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There is nothing as painful as losing a beloved family member. What makes a tragic situation even worse is knowing that someone else was responsible for your loss due to negligence. Had that person or entity not been negligent, your loved one would still be here today, and you would not have gone through this life-changing trauma.

A Bradenton wrongful death lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo can help you and your family during this most devastating time. While nothing brings your loved one back, compensation can bring some justice for the loss of your family member. We will fight so that the party responsible for causing you such terrible grief is held accountable financially.

Understanding Wrongful Death Cases

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Under Florida law, a wrongful death occurs when the at-fault party acted negligently. For instance, a truck driver drives longer than permitted under federal law, falls asleep at the wheel, and collides with a smaller vehicle, killing the occupant.

Had this party not behaved in a negligent manner, no death would have occurred. Most critically, if the victim had survived, they would have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. That is a key element of wrongful death lawsuits in Florida.

In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the death date, not the date of the accident. Unfortunately, failing to file a wrongful death lawsuit within that timeframe means your case cannot go forward.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death:

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While motor vehicle accidents make up the majority of wrongful death cases, they are far from the sole causes. Common causes of wrongful death include:

Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

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Criminal Vs. Civil

Some wrongful deaths result from crimes, such as drunken driving or assault. If the person responsible for your loved one’s death is arrested and charged, they will appear in criminal court. What happens in criminal court does not reflect your ability to file a civil lawsuit to seek monetary damages. Even if the person is acquitted in criminal court, you can still proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit.

In criminal proceedings, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a civil case, the less stringent standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. That means it is more likely than not that the defendant was responsible for your loved one’s demise.  

To file a wrongful death claim, you must prove the following:

Duty of Care

The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. Exactly what that duty of care consists of depends on how your loved one lost their life. For example, in Florida drivers have a duty of care to obey the speed limit, not drive drunk, text while driving, and to follow the rules of the road.

Breach of Duty

The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty of care, either through negligence or on purpose. If your family member died in a car accident because another driver sped through a red light, that is a breach of the duty of care.


The breach of the duty of care directly caused the death of the deceased. The proximate cause is demonstrated by the fact that the person would not have died except for the defendant’s negligence or wrongful act. As a result, the plaintiff suffered losses.

Who is Eligible in Florida to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

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Under Florida law, the personal representative of the estate must file a wrongful death claim. That person, who may or may not be a family member, files the wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members.

If the deceased had a will at the time of their demise, the personal representative is named in the document. If the person died intestate, or without a will, the court appoints a personal representative.

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Bradenton Can Help

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After the shock and pain of a wrongful death, devastated survivors may feel they are not ready to seek legal counsel right away. While that is understandable, it is crucial that you contact a compassionate wrongful death lawyer in Bradenton as soon as possible. Winning your lawsuit requires evidence, and waiting too long, even in difficult circumstances, can mean valuable evidence may disappear.

We investigate the accident leading to your loved one’s death thoroughly. That includes identifying all potential defendants. In some wrongful death cases, especially those involving motor vehicles, more than one party may prove liable.

For example, if your loved one was struck and killed by a car, but a vehicle malfunction caused the car to accelerate and hit your family member, the driver and the manufacturer may both bear responsibility.

Along with the review of police and medical reports, we seek out nearby surveillance video that may have recorded the accident. We may hire expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists, to analyze how a motor vehicle accident happened and demonstrate negligence on the defendant’s part. If there are eyewitnesses to the accident, we interview them.

Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases

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Compensation, or damages, in a wrongful death case may include:

  • The deceased’s final medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of services provided by the deceased, such as childcare or yard maintenance
  • Loss of companionship, protection, and guidance
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased before they succumbed

When it comes to emotional pain and suffering, the surviving spouse may receive compensation for the loss of their spouse, and a child for the loss of their parent. If a minor child is killed, the parents may receive compensation.

Challenges With Wrongful Death Claims

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The greatest challenge with wrongful death claims is establishing liability for the person’s demise.

The defendant may argue that it was the deceased individual who was negligent and thus responsible for the actions leading to their death. Florida operates under a modified comparative negligence standard when it comes to liability, and that includes wrongful death lawsuits.

Even if your family member was partly at fault for the accident leading to their death, surviving family members can still receive compensation as long as the deceased was less than 49% at fault. The award amount is reduced by the percentage of fault determined by the judge or jury.

For instance, if it is determined that the deceased was 25% at fault for the accident that killed them and the award amount is $100,000, that amount is reduced to $75,000.

There are also situations in which the deceased was engaging in a risky activity and had signed a release absolving the defendant of responsibility. It is then up to the plaintiff to prove that this inherently risky activity involved poor maintenance or other factors. As an example, your relative may have gone boating but lack of maintenance may have caused the boat to sink.

Healing Begins with Taking Action. Let Kogan & DiSalvo Help.

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If you lost a family member because of another party’s negligence or recklessness, you need the services of an experienced Bradenton personal injury lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today with one of our compassionate attorneys. We serve all of Manatee County. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.

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