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    Wrongful death is a civil action in which damages are sought against another party for causing a death, typically when criminal action or negligence is involved. The surviving family members can bring suit to help compensate for related damages related to their loved one’s death. 

    If the cause of a loved one’s death was intentional or due to negligence, the family members may be entitled to compensation. Each state follows a different set of rules for these claims and lawsuits. 

    Therefore, it is recommended to check your state’s laws and regulations to determine your best options for securing your family’s financial outlook. In many instances, the victim’s injuries and death could have been avoided. For example, the victim died because of medical malpractice, or the victim passed away because of a reckless and negligent driver. 

    Contact a Florida wrongful death attorney to learn more about which family members are entitled to file a claim and other aspects of the legal process. A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim, especially those who had an economic relationship with the victim as lawful dependents.

    Who is eligible to file a claim?

    State laws vary with regard to who can file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim’s family. 

    Examples of designated beneficiaries might be:

    • Spouse,domestic partners or life partners
    • Immediate family members, including children, adopted children, and parents of unmarried children
    • Distant family members, such as siblings and grandparents
    • Financial dependents and those who will otherwise suffer financially as a result of the death

    Both minors and adults could file the lawsuit and collect compensation if they can prove financial dependence on the person killed during the accident or incident. Parents, spouses, children, even extended relatives can sue the other person and file a lawsuit, in many cases. 

    The state may impose specific guidelines on who can pursue financial recovery in a wrongful death action. Every jurisdiction grants immediate family members some form of legal relief for wrongful death. 

    Eligibility to file a wrongful death claim will depend directly on the specifics of the case as well as where you live. Wrongful death lawsuits allow individuals to seek a civil remedy in the form of monetary awards against a party who played a role in the death of another individual.

    Damages that you can recover

    The surviving family members must file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations. You may get in touch with an attorney to understand different laws and complete the paperwork as soon as possible. Many states provide a scheme for collecting compensation for financial injuries. 

    You can file a claim for any expenses related to the medical care and other support of the deceased. In addition, survivors may also be entitled to compensation for the following damages: 

    • Medical and funeral expenses connected to the death
    • Loss of the victim’s current and anticipated future earnings
    • Loss of benefits, such as pension plans or medical coverage
    • Loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death
    • The value of the goods and services that a victim would have provided
    • Damages for the survivors’ pain and suffering
    • Loss of the care, protection, guidance, advice, training, and nurturing from the deceased
    • Loss of love, society, and companionship from the deceased
    • Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse
    • Punitive damages, in some cases

    When evaluating economic damages, various factors will be taken into consideration. Here are some examples: 

    • Age
    • The character of the deceased
    • Condition and medical health of the deceased
    • His or her life expectancy
    • Earning capacity of the individual
    • Education, intelligence and earning capacity of the deceased 

    Each claim is subject to the statute of limitations or state guidelines. Your lawsuit could be denied if you are unable to meet the statute of limitations. It is helpful to understand the appeal process before beginning the process.

    If you have lost a loved one because of an accident like severe head injury, brain injury, slip and fall accident, or for any other reason caused by someone else, you should seek legal consultation to fight for your right to be compensated for your loss.

    Application and appeal process

    Every state has a deadline by which you must file the lawsuit in order for the court to hear it. This is called the statute of limitations. This generally ranges from 2 to 4 years, depending on the state. If you attempt to file a legal complaint after the statute of limitations expires, your lawsuit will be denied. There are very limited exceptions. 

    Therefore, it is important to file a claim within the statutory time period. This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to consult an attorney immediately after the death of your family member.

    You deserve a fair amount of compensation for your pain and suffering. There are legal processes that are required when filing a lawsuit. Contact a legal professional for assistance with the process. He will know how to handle your case at each stage and can ensure that deadlines are met so that you get a fair chance to argue your case.

    This should be your first step. People who attempt these complicated lawsuits alone have varying results. While some are successful, others can make mistakes in the application process or documentation. 

    Many people lose their case because they fail to meet deadlines, submit required forms, provide incomplete or inaccurate information, or fail to obtain and provide sufficient evidence to prove their case. 

    It is always best to remain on the safe side by obtaining the assistance of a qualified attorney who is experienced in wrongful death actions. Not only will he or she be able to ensure a complete and accurate application, but they can help you negotiate a better settlement. 

    A lawyer is a better negotiator

    Many injury cases are solved outside the courtroom with an attorney and the insurance company. The legal professional will demand and negotiate the right amount for you. 

    He or she will ensure that the insurance company or the defendant offers an amount of compensation that accounts for every loss, expense, pain and suffering. 

    If you are unsuccessful with negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company, the next phase is to file the lawsuit in court. The case might get resolved at an earlier stage or could reach the trial stage. 

    Generally, these lawsuits can take from several months to several years. Make sure you pay attention to the statute of limitations. Missing even a single deadline can lead to a total loss of your claim or case. 

    If you go to trial the judge or jury will decide after hearing both sides. At trial, the judge will determine whether you are entitled to compensation or not. They can also dismiss your case. 

    Speak to a Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney to help you navigate through the process with confidence. They will ensure that you get the compensation you are owed for the loss of your loved one.



    Your Attorney

    Bill B. Berke

    Mr. Berke is an experienced attorney based in Southwest Florida. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Degree from Indiana University in 1982 and his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Florida in 1985. Since 1986, he has been running his own law firm, Berke Law Firm, P.A., exclusively representing injured individuals. He is admitted to practice in various courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Berke specializes in workers' compensation, social security disability, defective drug/device litigation, employment law, and overtime claims. He is actively involved in professional associations and community organizations, advocating for the rights of employees and claimants.

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