Compassionate & Experienced Tampa Wrongful Death Attorneys
The decision to file a wrongful death claim after the death of a family member is a profound one.
On one hand, the family of the deceased knows that no amount of money will bring back the person they lost. On the other, losing someone as the result of a the negligence of another person or entity is the ultimate price to pay, and it’s entirely understandable to yearn for justice and accountability.
At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our Tampa wrongful death lawyers have over three decades of experience helping the family of those killed due to negligence obtain real justice and close the door on an immensely painful time. If you’ve lost a loved one and are considering filing a wrongful death claim, here are a few things we want you to know about us:
- Your priorities are our priorities. We will never push you into any course of action that you are uncomfortable with, and will always put your interests first.
- We have successfully recovered millions for wrongful death plaintiffs. When you choose to work with us you can rest assured knowing that our work is backed by decades of successful wrongful death representation.
- We’re here to make your life easier. In the aftermath of the death of a loved one, the last thing you need to to take on even more stress. As your attorneys, are job is to make your life easier by taking whatever we can off your plate.
- We take wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. What this means is that it does not cost money up-front to hire us. Rather, we collect our fee and any costs as a portion of the settlement or verdict that we are able to achieve for you.
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We completely understand if you are not ready to talk to an attorney. No problem. We encourage you to read on in order to better understand how wrongful death claims work in Florida, and how our firm can help you pursue justice.
The Types of Tampa Wrongful Death Cases We Most Often Handle
A person or corporation’s negligence sometimes causes the death of another. Commonly there is a duty of responsibility owed from one person (or corporation) to the decedent. This could be simply the duty to drive responsibility but also could arise from a duty to maintain property. If someone’s negligence causes the death of another, it is referred to as wrongful death. In the case wrongful death arising from car accidents, we commonly see that the decedent was severely impacted or ejected. In the case of motorcycle accidents, commonly there is significant bodily trauma to the biker. Fall cases or premises liability cases usually involve some type of significant impact or head injury. Our firm typically represents the personal representative (on behalf of “survivors”, who are family members that are entitled to compensation for the loss of their loved one).
An Overview of Florida Wrongful Death Law
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe the circumstances when someone loses their life due to the negligent actions of another. Wrongful death can occur in a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a pedestrian accident, and even in a slip and fall accident. In a wrongful death claim, it must be proven that the victim’s death resulted from someone’s negligence and that that person or entity is liable for damages.
Florida law allows for a claim when an individual’s death is caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty” of another person. A wrongful death claim is filed in civil court by the estate of the deceased person.
Under Florida Statutes section 95.11(4), a wrongful death action must be brought within two years of the date of death. There are a few specific circumstances where the deadline may be postponed, but an attorney with experience in wrongful death claims could best assist you in determining when the statute of limitations expires.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
A personal representative of a deceased person’s estate must be the party to bring the wrongful death claim.
A representative is usually named in the deceased person’s will. If this is not the case, then a court will appoint someone to act as the representative. The claim is filed on behalf of the surviving family members who are suffering from the loss of their loved one.
The estate’s personal representative is required to name all family members who have an interest in the case. Family members who may be entitled to recover damages in a wrongful death case include the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents. It may also include any blood relative or adopted sibling who was dependent on the deceased person for support or services.
What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Suit?
Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the types of damages that can be recovered after a wrongful death. Under this statute, surviving family members of a decedent may be able to recover:
Medical Bills and Funeral Expenses
Compensation for items such as funeral costs and any medical bills related to the decedent’s final injury or illness may be recovered if they were paid by the family members. Expenses that were paid directly by the estate are recoverable.
Loss of Support and Services
Family members may be able to recover the value of any support or household services provided by the decedent. For example, if the decedent was a stay at home parent who cared for the children while the other spouse worked, there may be recovery for the reasonable value of daycare expenses.
Loss of Companionship and Protection
The spouse and children of a decedent may be able to recover for the loss of emotional support, friendship, and the instruction and guidance that a child would receive from a parent.
Mental Pain and Suffering
Certain survivors can recover for the emotional pain and suffering they have sustained as a result of the loss of their loved one.
The estate of the deceased person can also recover damages, including:
Future lost earnings may also be recoverable. These lost earnings include what the decedent would have earned had they continued working up until typical retirement age. This also includes the value of any lost benefits such as health insurance the decedent would have received as part of their employment. Calculating future lost earnings depends on the decedent’s education, career, and age. Loss of future earnings is usually proven with the testimony of an economist or other experts on wages and salaries who will determine the decedent’s earning capacity.
Lost Accumulation of Value of the Estate
The estate can also recover the value of any investments or other income that would have accumulated if not for the wrongful death.
Why Should I Consider Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you’re the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, a wrongful death claim may help you handle your financial losses, protect your family from further hardship, and achieve a measure of justice for your loved one.
Compensation for Financial Losses
If your loved one has died, chances are you’ve incurred some financial losses. You may have medical bills and funeral expenses to take care of. In addition, if your loved one was employed, then you have lost their income for the future. You may also have lost their insurance benefits or pension plan. The value of the services your loved one brought to the home, such as taking care of the children and the house, have also been lost. You may deserve compensation for these losses, and a wrongful death claim allows you to pursue that compensation.
Compensation for Non-economic Losses
Losing a loved one not only causes financial losses, but you’ve also lost that person and the comfort and companionship they brought you. You may be able to recover the value of companionship, guidance, and protection your deceased loved one brought to you and your family. While this won’t bring back your family member, it can offer some amount of comfort.
A Sense of Justice
If your family member has died as the result of someone’s negligence, you no doubt feel like you’ve been robbed of something precious. Holding the negligent individual responsible for your loss can bring you a sense of justice. While there may also be criminal charges involved depending on the circumstances, this doesn’t prevent you from getting your own justice. A wrongful death claim may help you heal and could help with the grieving process.
Sample Tampa Wrongful Death Case Results
We are proud of our long history of significant wrongful death settlement and verdicts for families in Tampa and Hillsborough County. Below are a couple examples of results we’ve been able to achieve for our clients in wrongful death claims. To see more example wrongful death case results click here. To learn more about what to expect from a wrongful death settlement click here.
Past results do not guarantee a similar outcome in your case.