If a loved one passes away unexpectedly, you may find yourself grappling with many painful emotions. In addition to the natural responses of grief and anger, you may also be struggling with economic concerns. Many families depend on two earners to pay vital expenses, and the loss of one person can completely change a family's financial situation. At the Martin Law Firm, we understand the pain that you are experiencing. If you have lost your loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or misconduct in the Fort Myers area, our Cape Coral injury attorneys can help you seek the damages that you deserve. The husband and wife team of Steven and Eviana Martin takes pride in advocating for bereaved families with compassion and tenacity. We are dedicated to guiding ordinary people in our community through the legal process.Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
After a tragically fatal accident that could have been avoided, the survivors of the victim should consider retaining a wrongful death attorney. Usually, this type of lawsuit must be filed within four years of the decedent's death. While this may seem like a long time, in most cases it is important to start investigating the cause of an accident as soon as possible so that evidence and the memories of eyewitnesses are still fresh and vivid.
Under Florida Statutes section 678.18, a wrongful death is caused by a wrongful act, an incident of negligence, or a breach of contract or warranty. In some instances, for example, these claims arise from a fatal motor vehicle collision or the use of a defective drug. The conduct that gives rise to a wrongful death claim must be something that would have entitled the decedent to bring a personal injury claim had he or she survived.
The personal representative of the decedent's estate is the person who files the wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. This is often a family member who is named in the decedent's will or estate plan. However, the court can appoint a personal representative if there is no will or estate plan. This individual files the lawsuit on behalf of family members who are entitled to recover damages for the loss of their loved one, such as the decedent's spouse, children, parents, and other relatives who were partially or fully dependent on the decedent for support.
While a criminal case may arise from the same conduct as a wrongful death action, the outcome of the criminal prosecution does not determine the outcome of the wrongful death claim. Very different standards of proof are used in these cases, with accident victims carrying a lower burden of proof than the state, so a civil case may be successful even though a criminal case was not.
Most wrongful death actions are based on establishing the elements of negligence, which consist of duty, breach, causation, and damages. Forms of compensation that may be available to a bereaved family usually include past and future lost wages, medical and funeral expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering if the decedent was the family member's child, loss of companionship and guidance, and the value of the decedent's support and services.Contact a Cape Coral Attorney after an Accident in Fort Myers or Beyond
At the Martin Law Firm, we treat our clients like family, providing meticulous and compassionate legal representation. Our experienced Cape Coral accident lawyers can help people throughout the Fort Myers region navigate motorcycle crash and other motor vehicle collision and personal injury claims. We also represent victims and their families in Naples, Tampa, Miami, and elsewhere in South Florida. Call us toll-free at 844-465-4357 or use our online form to arrange a consultation.