Stuart Wrongful Death Lawyer
We all know that those who wrongfully cause the death of another can face criminal charges and be sentenced to time in jail. What some people do not realize is that a separate civil lawsuit may be filed against the wrongdoer to obtain compensation for the victim’s family.
The criminal and civil trial based on a wrongful death incident are very different, involving different laws and different burdens of proof.
While no amount of money can truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, monetary compensation can help ease the burden caused by extra expenses and mental anguish.
If you believe a family member has suffered death as the result of another’s negligent or wrongful behavior, consult a Stuart wrongful death lawyer to learn about the possibility of compensation.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act
Florida lawmakers passed the Wrongful Death Act to govern wrongful death cases, and the laws in this act are codified under Sections 768.16-768.26 of the Florida statutes.
Essentially, when an individual’s death is caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty” by a person or entity and the victim would have been entitled to file a lawsuit to recover damages if they had survived, the law states that the person responsible remains liable and that another party may sue to seek damages and a wrongful death lawyer in Stuart can help.
Parties Eligible to File
The Wrongful Death Act permits the “personal representative” of the deceased to file a lawsuit on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate.
The personal representative (called an executor in other jurisdictions) is the party named in the will to handle the affairs of the estate such as paying final bills. If the deceased did not leave a will, the court will appoint a personal representative.
Though the action is filed by the representative, it is filed for the benefit of the survivors of the deceased, and all the eligible survivors must be listed in the claim.
The parties entitled to recovery as survivors include:
- The spouse
- Other relatives or adopted siblings who were dependent on the deceased party for support or services.
The status of potential survivors gets complicated when situations such as pending divorce, common law marriage, and blended families are part of the equation. A wrongful death attorney in Stuart can help answer the question of which survivors can put forth a claim.
The eligible survivors may be found entitled to certain damages, depending on the age of the deceased party and their degree of dependence.
For instance, children under the age of 25 are generally entitled to greater recovery than those over that age because they are presumed to be more dependent on the deceased parent for support.
The types of damages that a Stuart wrongful death lawyer will work to convince the court to award to survivors might include compensation for:
- The amount of support and/or service the survivor had received from the deceased person
- The loss of protection, companionship and/or guidance the survivor had received from the deceased person
- Mental anguish
- Medical or funeral expenses
In addition, the survivors may also receive damages paid to the estate, because the assets of the estate are distributed to the beneficiaries once all obligations are fulfilled. The estate may recover damages for things such as lost wages and benefits, medical and funeral expenses that the estate paid for.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
We rely on family members for all different types of support, from financial to emotional, and spiritual.
If you have been deprived of that support by the wrongdoing of another, it’s time to contact a Stuart wrongful death lawyer who will evaluate your situation and advise of the appropriate steps to take to help restore peace and stability to the family.