Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, and the attorney and staff at Moore Law appreciate how difficult it can be to cope with the feelings and ongoing hardship this loss can cause. The negligent driver’s insurance company or the business owner’s lawyer might offer to cut you a check to cover funeral costs, but you need and deserve more than that. We understand that battling an insurance company might be the last thing on your mind at a time like this, but you owe it to yourself and your family not to give up or give in and accept less than is due. Surely no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but significant compensation can help you pay for necessary costs, make up for a loss of income or other assistance, and help you move on after a tragedy instead of letting it destroy your life. While you focus on processing your grief and holding your family together, a Tampa wrongful death attorney at Moore Law takes on the task of securing appropriate and adequate compensation from the responsible party or parties who caused this needless sorrow.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when an individual dies because of someone else’s negligence or misconduct. Florida law allows the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to bring an action in court against the party responsible for causing the death. As in a personal injury case, the burden falls on the plaintiff (here the personal representative of the estate) to prove a negligence case against the defendant. Legal representation is necessary to build and present a compelling case in court that will convince a judge and jury to hold the defendant liable. It is also possible to settle out of court with the defendant or their insurance company. Most wrongful death cases do, in fact, settle without having to go to trial.
Because this is a civil negligence (tort) case, the appropriate remedy is money damages. Money damages help you deal with the economic and non-economic losses inflicted on you while holding the guilty party accountable for their actions. Florida statutes set out exactly what forms of money damages may be recovered. These include:
- The value of lost support and services from the date of injury to death and into the future
- The loss of a spouse’s companionship and protection, including mental pain and suffering
- The loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance, as well as mental pain and suffering
- The mental pain and suffering of parents who lose a minor child or an adult child if there are no other survivors of the deceased
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by a surviving family member
The above damages are personal to a surviving spouse, child or parent, with the Florida Wrongful Death statute placing further restrictions on which of these individuals qualify as “survivors”. Additionally, the following damages can be recovered for the decedent’s estate and distributed to heirs and beneficiaries accordingly:
- Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death
- Loss of prospective net accumulations of the estate which might have reasonably been expected had the wrongful death not occurred. These damages are only available if the deceased’s survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendants, or a surviving parent in certain circumstances.
- Medical or funeral expenses charged to the estate or paid by the estate
Will the Guilty Party Go to Jail?
The state might choose to charge the individual who caused the death with a crime, depending on whether the death was intentional or caused by negligent or reckless conduct that can be charged as a crime, such as vehicular homicide or negligent homicide. If the defendant is convicted of a crime related to the death, such as drunk driving or vehicular homicide, the fact of the conviction can be useful evidence in a wrongful death case. However, it is not required that the responsible party be charged with the death or found guilty in a criminal proceeding. If the facts support a wrongful death action, you can bring this case regardless of whether they are found criminally culpable or not. Different standards apply to criminal and civil proceedings, and we can help you find justice through a civil case regardless of the outcome of any criminal case.
Call Moore Law for Advice and Representation on a Tampa Wrongful Death Matter
If you have lost a loved one because of another party’s negligent or wrongful act or omission, call Moore Law in Tampa at 813-510-5400 for a no-cost analysis of your claim. Take the first step toward justice for your loved one and closure for you and your family by calling Moore Law today.