Accidents happen. And while there are plenty of instances where an accident is truly an accident, there are many cases where an accident occurs because of someone’s negligence. If you’ve lost a loved one and you believe another party was at fault, you have legal options outside of the criminal justice system. If the life of your loved one has been cut short because of someone else’s action or inaction, consider whether a wrongful death claim is in your best interest.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is any action carried out by an individual that results in the death of another person on accident. In many cases, these situations occur for one of three lapses in judgment or action by the defendant. We’ll review those below, but for now, let’s explore more about what constitutes a wrongful death in the abstract. Wrongful death cases must occur with one party killing another person unwillingly. Willingness doesn’t mean they are not responsible for the death. This just means that the death is not premeditated or planned ahead of time.
It’s not fair to call a wrongful death murder because the two are very different. Murder, according to the official definition, occurs as an unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. When this happens, the murderer is knowingly doing something intended to kill. Wrongful death cases lack intent. How does one end up causing someone’s wrongful death then? Well, it comes down to what constitutes the source of a wrongful death. To explore that notion, here are the ways in which Florida law treats wrongful death suits as a means for familial compensation.
What Constitutes the Ability to Recover Compensation in Florida?
In a wrongful death case in the state of Florida, compensation is owed to the family or next of kin in certain situations. There are three main ways in which wrongful death cases in FL can lead to compensation for the family of the deceased.
Negligence is the most common way to qualify for compensation when your close relative is killed. Negligence is the act of doing something without considering its outcomes. For example, a common form of negligence is failing to stop at a stop sign and hitting a person. Because of the driver’s failure to follow traffic laws, let’s say the accident kills a pedestrian. The driver did not mean to kill the person, but they are still at fault. The family of the deceased can attempt to claim compensation from the driver in order to cover the expenses caused by the accident, the wages the family has lost due to the death, and more.
Recklessness is a more dramatic, conscious form of negligence. Recklessness might occur in a situation where you’re doing something dangerous as a means to achieve an end. Occasionally, we hear a story of teens throwing rocks at cars or dropping items from overpasses. This is reckless because that can result in an accident or death.
Reckless behavior is any risky act that could end up hurting someone. Unlike negligence, it often means the act is dangerous in and of itself. Not stopping your car does not naturally threaten the community, but at a stop sign, being negligent makes the act wrong. The final example is not as common, but worth mentioning.
Intentional Act of Others
A final reason why families could seek compensation via a wrongful death suit is the intentional act of others. Let’s say your brother gets mugged, and while the attacker attempts to beat your brother up, he accidentally hits him hard enough to make him fall and hit his head, thus killing him. His goal as a mugger wasn’t to kill your brother, but it still resulted in his death. Because the mugging was intentional, the death, therefore, is a product of an intentional action. This can also occur after someone gets hit in a car accident and they die later on in the hospital.
Can You Get Compensation for a Wrongful Death Claim?
As you can imagine, each case is unique and the laws are quite complex and convoluted. Therefore, it helps to have a lawyer or team of legal experts to walk you through your rights.
It might seem like money isn’t going to help, but compensation is a legal right of the family of those wrongfully killed. An estate or family member of someone who has died can hire a legal expert to serve as the decedent’s personal representative. This person can seek damages in the form of money to help with anything that develops from the situation, such as burial costs, mental health counseling, and other forms of post-accident help If someone else is responsible for the death of a loved one, you should not have to pay.
Curious if You Qualify for Wrongful Death Compensation? Call Burnett Law Today
If you’re confused by the laws and rules surrounding wrongful death cases in FL, you are not alone. Getting representation is the only way to get what is owed to you when a loved one dies wrongfully. Therefore, if the situation arises, our team at Burnett Law is ready to help. We can get you through this painful process as smoothly as possible, offering our knowledge and years of experience as a means to help you get what you deserve. Call today for a free consultation to discuss what wrongful death claims you have to the loss of a loved one.