New Port Richey Wrongful Death Attorneys
Losing a loved one is a deeply personal and heart-wrenching experience. The grief and sorrow accompanying such loss can be overwhelming, leaving many in shock and confusion. In instances where this loss is sudden and unexpected, as is often the case with wrongful death, the sense of grief is compounded by a feeling of injustice. If you have found yourself in this painful situation, we offer our deepest sympathies and want you to know that you don’t have to navigate this tough journey alone.
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, our New Port Richey wrongful death attorneys are adept at handling all types of wrongful death cases. We understand the emotional and legal complexities involved in these types of claims, so we take the time to listen to you and your story, understand your unique needs, and work to achieve your goals.
Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today for a free case evaluation.
Wrongful Death Cases in New Port Richey
Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a situation where a person’s death has been caused directly by another’s act of negligence or intentional harm. This type of case is primarily a civil matter, and the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff, who must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions or lack thereof were a significant contributory factor to the death.
What is the Legal Definition
In legal terms, wrongful death is defined as a death that has been caused by the fault of another person. This includes situations in which death is caused by conduct that is intentional, reckless, or negligent. The at-fault party is not necessarily an individual; it could be a company, government agency, or other entity.
Causes of Wrongful Death
There are numerous causes of wrongful death, including but not limited to:
Medical malpractice: This includes situations where a healthcare professional fails to provide the standard of care expected, leading to a patient’s death.
Workplace accidents: These can occur when safety standards are not met, or precautions are not taken, resulting in fatal injuries.
Product liability: If a product is defective and this results in a person’s death, the manufacturer can be held responsible.
Criminal activities: Any actions that are illegal and result in death can be a cause of wrongful death, even if the death was not intended.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of Florida, the law stipulates that only certain individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. According to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, the claim must be filed by the deceased’s personal representative, typically appointed in the deceased’s will or estate plan. The personal representative acts on behalf of all survivors who have an interest in the claim.
Survivors who can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include
- The surviving spouse of the deceased person;
- Children of the deceased person under 25, and all children of the deceased person if there is no surviving spouse; and
- The surviving parents of a deceased minor or the surviving parents of an adult minor if there are no other survivors.
- If there is no surviving spouse, child, or parent, then other family members who are partially or wholly dependent on the deceased person
Each survivor may be able to recover damages for loss of companionship, mental pain and suffering, lost support and services, and medical or funeral expenses. The specific damages available can vary depending on the survivor’s relationship to the deceased.
It’s important to reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney in New Port Richey, FL, to understand your rights and the potential for your claim.
Liable Parties in a Wrongful Death Suit
In a wrongful death suit, determining the liable party or parties is a critical step. Various individuals or entities can be held accountable depending on the circumstances that led to the unfortunate event. Here are some examples of parties that can potentially be held liable for wrongful death:
Motorists – In cases of fatal traffic accidents, the driver who caused the accident can be held responsible.
Medical Professionals – If the death occurred due to medical malpractice or negligence, healthcare professionals or the healthcare facility could be held liable.
Product Manufacturers – Manufacturers might be held responsible if a product defect or malfunction leads to a death.
Employers – In the case of workplace fatalities, the employer could be held accountable, especially if they failed to comply with safety regulations.
Government Agencies – If the death is caused by hazardous conditions on public property, a government agency could be held liable.
Property Owners – In situations where a death occurs due to dangerous conditions on private property, the property owner might be held responsible.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and liability in wrongful death suits can be complex. Therefore, it’s imperative to get legal advice from a qualified wrongful death attorney.
How Can I Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case?
Proving negligence in a wrongful death case essentially involves establishing four key elements – Duty of Care, Breach of Duty, Causation, and Damages.
Duty of Care implies that the defendant had a legal responsibility towards the deceased person. This could be as straightforward as a motorist’s obligation to follow traffic rules or a doctor’s responsibility to provide standard medical care.
Breach of Duty involves demonstrating that the defendant failed to fulfill their duty of care. For instance, if a motorist was speeding or a doctor failed to diagnose a condition correctly, it would constitute a breach of duty.
Some examples of things that you may need to prove include:
- The person or persons knew or should have known that their actions could result in death;
- The person or persons failed to take steps to prevent the death from happening;
- The person or persons acted recklessly or carelessly;
- The person or persons violated a safety law or regulation;
- The person or persons failed to warn of the dangers of their actions.
Causation is about proving a direct link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the death. The plaintiff needs to show that the death would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s negligence.
Damages refer to the losses resulting from the death, such as loss of income, medical expenses, funeral costs, and emotional distress suffered by the survivors.
Given the complexity involved in proving negligence, it is recommended to engage a competent wrongful death attorney who can methodically construct a compelling case supported by evidence. An untimely death is a tragedy, and pursuing legal action may help bring closure to survivors.
Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is typically two years from the date of death. This means that the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state’s civil court system. However, there can be certain circumstances where this timeline may be extended or shortened. Given the serious implications of missing this filing deadline, it’s crucial to consult with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney to ensure all legal procedures are correctly and timely followed.
What Damages Can You Recover in Wrongful Death Cases?
In wrongful death cases, the damages that can be recovered generally fall into two categories: Economic damages and Non-economic damages. These include:
Medical and Funeral Expenses: These are the costs incurred for any medical care the deceased may have received for their final illness or injury, as well as the costs of the deceased’s funeral and burial.
Loss of the Deceased’s Expected Income: This includes the money that the deceased would likely have earned as income if they had lived.
Loss of Benefits: If the deceased provided benefits like health insurance coverage or pension plans, these losses would be included.
Loss of Inheritance: This refers to the value of the assets that the survivors would have expected to inherit if the deceased had lived a full lifespan.
Loss of Consortium: Damages awarded to a surviving spouse for the loss of companionship and sexual relations.
Loss of Parental Guidance: If the deceased had minor children, compensation could be provided for the loss of guidance and education.
Pain and Suffering: Surviving family members may be able to claim non-economic damages for the emotional pain and grief they have experienced because of their loved one’s death.
Punitive Damages: These are damages intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
It’s important to note that the nature and amount of damages awarded can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the case. Always consult with a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer to understand what kind of damages may be recoverable in your specific situation.
Can I Still Sue If the Responsible Party Was Arrested or Charged With a Crime?
Yes, it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the person responsible for the death has been arrested and/or charged with a crime. A criminal conviction may offer additional evidence of negligence or malicious intent in civil court, but this does not necessarily guarantee success in the wrongful death case. It’s important to remember that criminal proceedings and wrongful death lawsuits are two distinct types of actions based on different legal standards. Therefore, consulting with a qualified New Port Richey wrongful death lawyer is essential to evaluate the merits of your case and understand your options for pursuing justice in court.
What Should I Do If Someone Close to Me Has Died Wrongfully?
If someone close to you has wrongfully died, follow these steps:
Seek Immediate Legal Counsel: Contact a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. They can help you understand your rights, the legal process, and any potential claims you may have.
Preserve Evidence: Try to preserve any evidence that may be relevant to the case. This could include medical records, photographs, text messages or emails, and other related documents.
Document Everything: Keep a record of all expenses related to the wrongful death, such as funeral costs, medical bills, and loss of income.
Cooperate with Investigations: Cooperate fully with any police or insurance investigations. However, it’s crucial to have your attorney present during any discussions to protect your interests.
File the Wrongful Death Claim: With the help of your attorney, file a wrongful death claim within the statute of limitations.
What Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Do For You
Our wrongful death lawyers possess the experience and skills to provide comprehensive legal support during such a challenging time. Here are some of the ways they can assist you:
Evaluating Your Claim: Our lawyers can review the circumstances surrounding your loss and help determine if a wrongful death action is appropriate and possible.
Investigation: They can conduct a thorough investigation to gather all necessary evidence to build a strong case.
Calculating Damages: They are experienced in accurately calculating both economic and non-economic damages to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Our lawyers can handle communication and negotiations with insurance companies, who often attempt to minimize payouts.
Filing a Lawsuit: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our lawyers are prepared to take your case to court.
Guiding Through Legal Processes: They will guide you through every step of the legal process, ensuring you understand your rights and options.
No Upfront Fees: Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we win your case.
Contact The Fran Haasch Law Group For Assistance Today
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we are committed to fighting for your fair recovery. We strive to help injured individuals and the families of the deceased secure the full, fair recovery they are owed.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, we encourage you to reach out and contact our experienced wrongful death attorneys. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and provide the legal advice you need. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Need help with a different personal injury claim? Our law firm can help you with a wide range of personal injury claims, including car accidents, motorcycle crashes, medical malpractice, birth injuries, premises liability cases, and more. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping accident victims and their families seek justice.
Don’t wait another day to get the legal representation you deserve. Let The Fran Haasch Law Group fight for your rights today.