Wrongful Death Attorneys in Tampa, FL
Pursuing maximum compensation and holding negligent parties financially accountable for your loss.
The loss of a loved one is a profound emotional tragedy, and this grief is often amplified when their death could have been prevented.
For those who have lost the primary provider in their home, it’s more than just coping with the absence of a loved one. It’s also about facing the daunting reality of managing day-to-day life, especially for families with children. The sudden uncertainty about the future can be overwhelming, adding an intense financial strain to the emotional turmoil.
For those who have lost young children, the grief takes on a different, indescribable dimension. It’s a heartbreaking loss that words cannot adequately capture.
While we may not be able to truly understand the depth of your pain, we can offer our unwavering commitment to recovering justice and compensation for your loved one by holding those responsible to account.
We will fight to ensure that all of your family’s essential needs, including your children’s education and daily living expenses, are provided for in the aftermath of this tragedy.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Our in-depth experience in personal injury and medical malpractice cases makes us uniquely equipped to handle the complexities of wrongful death cases. We will hold the negligent parties accountable and secure the financial support to safeguard your family’s future
We don’t get paid unless you win.
What is wrongful death?
At its core, wrongful death is a legal term used to describe a situation where the negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity caused someone’s death. It’s a claim made in civil court, which means it’s about seeking financial compensation, not criminal punishment.
In wrongful death cases, the focus is on the loss suffered by the family members of the deceased. These claims are distinct from other legal cases in that they specifically address the impact of the death on the surviving family members. This can include financial losses like loss of income, but it also encompasses the emotional pain and suffering caused by the untimely death.
Scenarios leading to wrongful death claims
A wrongful death claim can arise from a multitude of scenarios, each bringing its own complexities:
- Hospital negligence. When medical professionals or healthcare facilities fail in their duty of care, resulting in a patient’s death.
- Catastrophic injury. Injuries so severe they ultimately lead to death, such as spinal cord injuries or severe brain damage.
- Birth injury. Tragic cases where negligence during childbirth leads to the death of an infant or the mother.
- Misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose a serious medical condition like cancer correctly, leading to a wrongful death.
- Nursing home abuse. Instances where neglect or abuse in a nursing home setting results in the death of a resident.
- Vehicle accidents. Fatal outcomes from car or truck accidents caused by another’s negligence.
- Slips, trips and falls. Accidental deaths resulting from falls due to unsafe conditions on a property.
In each of these scenarios, wrongful death claims seek to provide some measure of justice for the irreparable loss suffered by the family.
While no amount of money can replace your loved one, these claims lessen the financial burden and acknowledge the emotional and psychological impact of the loss.
Florida Wrongful Death Act: Who can file, and types of damages for compensation
The Florida Wrongful Death Act, while designed to provide a means of compensation for families, is very complicated. It encompasses various legal nuances that can be difficult to understand without an attorney’s guidance.
Our goal is to simplify and explain the key parts of the Florida Wrongful Death Act, particularly those outlined in Statute 768.21, in a way that’s easy to understand.
The statute covers a range of topics, from who can file a wrongful death claim to what types of compensation can be sought. These are areas that most of our clients are particularly curious or concerned about.
In the following sections, we’ll delve into each of these aspects to explain what they entail.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, everyone who could benefit from the case (like family members) and the deceased person’s estate must be listed in the legal complaint. Their relationship with the deceased should also be clearly stated.
This can include the spouse, children, parents, siblings and other relatives dependent on the deceased for financial support.
What compensation can the family claim for lost support?
Family members can claim the value of support (like financial support) and services (like childcare or housework) they’ve lost from the time the deceased was injured until their death.
They can also claim future lost support and services adjusted to their current value. Factors like the family member’s relationship with the deceased and how much money the deceased would have likely earned are considered.
What damages can the surviving spouse claim?
The spouse can claim damages for loss of companionship, protection, and mental pain and suffering since the deceased’s injury.
What can children claim in a wrongful death claim?
Minor children, and all children if there’s no surviving spouse, can claim for their lost parental companionship, guidance, and mental pain since the injury.
If both parents die within 30 days of each other due to the same event, it’s legally treated as though each parent died before the other.
What can parents claim when a child is lost to wrongful death?
Parents can claim mental pain and suffering if their minor child dies. If the child is an adult, parents can still make a claim if there are no other survivors, like a spouse or children.
How can families recover medical and funeral expenses in wrongful death cases?
If a family member paid for the medical or funeral costs, they can claim these expenses.
What claims can the personal representative make in a wrongful death case?
The personal representative of the deceased can claim:
- Lost earnings from the time of injury to death, as well as any future lost earnings of the estate, considering what the deceased might have saved and left behind if they hadn’t died. This applies if there’s a surviving spouse or children or if the deceased is an adult with surviving parents but no spouse or children to claim support and services.
- Any medical or funeral costs charged to the estate or paid on behalf of the deceased, not including amounts covered by family members.
Who’s a “personal representative?”
The term “personal representative” generally refers to the individual appointed to manage the affairs of the deceased person’s estate. This includes taking care of the deceased’s financial obligations and distributing their assets according to the will or state law, if there is no will.
This person is often named in the deceased’s will. If there’s no will or if the named individual is unable or unwilling to serve, the court will appoint a personal representative. This could be a family member, a close friend, or sometimes a professional like an attorney or a financial institution.
In wrongful death cases, the personal representative files the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s estate and any surviving family members who are eligible for compensation. They are responsible for pursuing the claim in court, managing any awarded damages, and distributing them according to the law and the deceased’s wishes.
Largest wrongful death verdict: $2.64 billion
As reported by Enjuris in their article “Top 10 Wrongful Death Verdicts and Settlements,” one of the most substantial wrongful death settlements involved the case of the Estate of Tyler Thomas v. Joshua Keadle. In this landmark case, the settlement reached a staggering $2.64 billion.
Damages for Florida wrongful death cases
In a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, the types of damages that can be claimed are generally categorized into 2 main groups: economic and non-economic damages.
These refer to quantifiable financial losses resulting from an incident, such as:
- Lost wages and benefits. Family members can claim the income that the deceased would have earned, including both their current salary and future expected earnings.
- Medical and funeral expenses. Survivors can recover costs associated with the deceased’s final medical care and funeral arrangements.
- Loss of support and services. Family members can seek compensation for the value of support and services, such as household tasks, that the deceased would have provided.
These are damages awarded for intangible losses that do not have a specific monetary value, such as:
- Mental pain and suffering. Spouses and children of the deceased can receive compensation for their mental anguish and emotional distress.
- Loss of companionship and protection. The surviving spouse and children can claim damages for the loss of care, companionship and protection the deceased provided.
- Loss of parental guidance. Minor children, and sometimes adult children, can be compensated for the loss of guidance and upbringing from the deceased parent.
Wrongful death in medical malpractice
The loss of a family member to medical negligence is a heartbreaking reality that no family should have to face.
Trusting a loved one’s health to medical professionals, whether for routine surgery or in response to a critical health issue, inherently carries hope for positive outcomes, not the grief of loss.
When healthcare providers betray that trust and a loved one passes away due to their negligence, it leaves families grappling with an unexpected and devastating reality.
This kind of loss is not just about the absence of a loved one. It’s a breach of trust and the shattering of expectations at the hands of those who were supposed to heal and protect.
Non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases
For many years, Florida law imposed a cap on non-economic damages, such as emotional distress and mental pain and suffering, in cases of death due to medical malpractice, limiting these damages to a maximum of one million dollars.
However, in 2023, the Florida Supreme Court deemed this damage cap unconstitutional, opening a new chapter for justice in these cases.
Now, in the absence of a settlement with the hospital or their insurance company, the determination of suitable financial compensation rests in the hands of a jury.
This compensation can cover various aspects of loss, including those due to surgical errors, medication errors, botched surgeries, anesthesia errors, and other forms of hospital malpractice.
Cases involving medical negligence are full of legal complexities.
Let’s discuss how we can help you.
Proving that a wrongful death resulted from medical negligence is often a complex and challenging task, particularly when the patient was critically ill or undergoing high-risk surgery. Furthermore, the hospital typically controls the essential records, and the medical staff present during the procedure are often the only eyewitnesses.
As your attorneys, our commitment is to build a strong case, establishing clear liability against those responsible for your loss.
We’ll fight to uncover the truth by obtaining hospital medical records and conducting thorough interviews with medical staff. We’ll also engage medical experts who can provide insightful analysis and scrutinize every detail thoroughly.
At Palmer Lopez, our dedicated team stands ready to walk with you through every step of this difficult journey, ensuring your case receives the urgent and careful attention it deserves.
We stand by our no-win, no-fee promise, which means we’re fully invested in pursuing your case with your best interests at heart.
Let us represent you and your family to seek maximum financial compensation for the loss of your loved one.