The death of a loved one is a personal tragedy that can bring significant financial hardship as well. Wrongful death is the area of law that addresses the tremendous losses—emotional and financial—suffered by those who have lost family members due to the negligence and wrongdoing of others.
As Florida’s premier personal injury law firm, Kogan & DiSalvo is prepared to handle complex wrongful death cases arising from car accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, and negligence of all kinds.
Our Tampa wrongful death lawyers will treat you with the utmost compassion and respect as we help you pursue justice and compensation for this tragic loss.
Understanding a Wrongful Death Case
In a standard personal injury claim, the injured person seeks compensation for him or herself to cover losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In a wrongful death claim, the person who suffered the physical injury is no longer with us. That person’s surviving loved ones, however, have suffered grievous emotional injuries, and often financial hardship as well, and may be entitled to compensation.
The Many Causes of Wrongful Deaths
Wrongful deaths arise from a variety of circumstances and types of accidents, including:
- Car accidents: Any fatal motor vehicle accident on Florida roads resulting from drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, or other negligent behavior.
- Truck accidents: Fatal accidents involving 18-wheelers (semi-trucks) and other large commercial vehicles.
- Motorcycle accidents: Florida sees more than its fair share of fatal motorcycle accidents per year. Whether the motorcyclist or passenger was killed in a bike crash, or a pedestrian or person in another vehicle, it may warrant wrongful death litigation.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrian accidents in crosswalks, parking lots, and other locations all too often prove fatal. The victim’s surviving loved ones deserve justice if negligence played a role.
- Bicycle accidents: Fatal bike accidents can occur when motorists fail to respect Tampa bicycle lanes and observe the rules of the road.
- Bus accidents: We handle fatal bus accident claims in Florida, including those arising from accidents involving public transportation buses in Tampa and Hillsborough County as well as private bus lines.
- Workplace accidents: Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may be entitled to wrongful death compensation in addition to workers’ compensation death benefits.
- Slip-and-fall accidents: Slips and trips in stores and other premises can result in serious and even fatal injuries.
Our Tampa personal injury lawyers routinely handle cases involving all of these types of accidents and more. We are fully prepared to investigate these accidents when they arise in the context of a wrongful death claim.
What Family Members Are Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
The following family relations may be considered beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida:
- Spouse: If your husband or wife died as a result of another person’s negligence, you may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
- Children: Minor children are also eligible beneficiaries in wrongful death claims. If the parents were unmarried, their children are eligible if it was the mother who passed away. If the unmarried father lost his life, children are eligible for wrongful death compensation only if he formally acknowledged the parental relationship and supported them.
- Parents: If parents lose minor children in a fatal accident, they are eligible beneficiaries in wrongful death litigation.
- Dependent family members: Any blood relative or adoptive sibling is eligible for wrongful death compensation, but only if they were financially dependent upon the deceased family member.
If you are unsure whether or not your relationship to the deceased person qualifies you as a beneficiary, speak with a Tampa wrongful death attorney who knows the law and can help you understand how it applies in your unique situation.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Florida?
Under Florida statutes, a fatality is considered a wrongful death if:
- The fatal accident was caused by a person or business that acted negligently.
- The death would not have occurred if it wasn’t for this party’s negligence.
- The victim would have cause to sue the at-fault party in a personal injury claim if he or she had survived.
A death may precipitate legal action on the part of survivors of the deceased even if the at-fault party’s negligence was only partially to blame – although it may result in reduced damages for the plaintiffs.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in Wrongful Death Cases?
Damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida may include:
- Your deceased loved one’s losses: In many cases, the death resulting from a fatal accident does not arrive right away. The deceased person’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and other losses sustained while he or she was still alive are recoverable damages in a wrongful death claim.
- Economic losses: The death of a family member can bring significant financial hardship in addition to emotional pain and suffering. Damages in a wrongful death claim may include loss of income, bonuses, commissions, and other income, as well as the monetary value of household services such as home repairs, cleaning, and yard work.
- Non-economic losses: Wrongful death laws acknowledge the extreme emotional toll of the loss of a loved one, including emotional pain and suffering and loss of companionship.
- Funeral and burial expenses: This is a loss you were not expecting, and you may not have money set aside for expenses related to funeral services and burial/cremation. Wrongful death laws allow you to pursue compensation for these expenses.
- Punitive damages: These damages only apply in cases in which the at-fault party acted with extreme negligence or recklessness. They are designed to punish the wrongdoer and to deter others from acting in the same careless manner.
Maximizing Your Recovery
You have one chance to recover compensation for the loss of your loved one, which is why it is so important to place your wrongful death claim in experienced hands.
Our Tampa wrongful death lawyers have the experience required to handle these complex claims. We draw upon our deep knowledge of Florida wrongful death statutes and case law to help our clients obtain the largest recoveries possible.
Standing Up to the Opposition
Insurance companies do not profit by freely paying the full value of personal injury and wrongful death claims. They will fight aggressively to limit or deny your compensation. We routinely handle these types of cases and know how to stand up to the tactics the insurance companies will use against you.
Our thorough approach to investigation ensures that we are equipped with the facts that can make all the difference in a Tampa wrongful death lawsuit.
Taking a proactive approach to wrongful death cases allows us to negotiate from a position of strength. If the opposing party refuses to offer a reasonable settlement offer, we are always prepared for courtroom litigation.
A Compassionate Ally During This Dark Time
We understand that behind every wrongful death case is a profound personal tragedy. We will treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve as you contend with this deep personal loss.
You have many decisions to make during this difficult time—and they are not easy ones. Our Tampa wrongful death lawyers will work with you personally to help you understand your legal options so you can make the decisions that are right for you and your loved ones.
Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation
Legal matters may not be foremost on your mind right now, but rest assured, when you are ready to explore your legal options, we will be here for you. To arrange a no-cost initial consultation with an experienced Tampa wrongful death attorney, contact our law offices today. The consultation is free and you will not have to pay us a fee unless we obtain a financial recovery for you.