Wrongful Death Lawyers, Tampa, Florida
When a person dies, the time following can be especially difficult if there is evidence that the death could have been prevented. Clark and Martino’s wrongful death lawyers in Tampa can help you get the justice you and your family deserve. Wrongful death is a term used to describe the type of lawsuit brought by the surviving relatives of a deceased person against the person who caused the death to occur. A wrongful death action is separate from the lawsuit that may be brought on behalf of the deceased person (for example, by the deceased person’s estate) for damages resulting from injuries to the deceased. For procedural purposes, these actions are typically combined into one lawsuit. The wrongful act may be:
- A negligent or careless act such as careless driving
- A reckless act, or
- An intentional act such as a deliberate murder
Lawsuits for wrongful death were not recognized in the English common law from which our state legal systems were derived. As a result, almost every state has enacted a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the relatives of a person who died as a result of a wrongful act. These “wrongful death statutes” or “survivor statutes” vary greatly from state to state. For example, in some states, only a spouse and children may bring a wrongful death lawsuit, while in other states, grandparents or other relatives may also bring a lawsuit. The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is that the wrongful death, in addition to injuring the person who died, also injured people who depended upon the deceased for financial or emotional support. Regardless of who survives the deceased, a wrongful death lawyer is generally necessary to navigate the laws specific to Florida.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the amount of damages can be a very complicated question. Survivors can usually sue for medical bills paid for the care of the person who was injured, as well as for burial expenses. But, because the idea is that the survivors have been injured by the absence of the person who died, determining the amount of damages requires consideration of what probably would have occurred in the future. The damages that can be assessed may include:
- An estimate of the amount of earnings the person who died would have earned if he or she had lived
- Pain and suffering experienced by the survivors due to the absence of the deceased person
Estimates of future earnings usually require expert testimony involving the deceased person’s future earning capacity. Wrongful death lawyers can help in determining the damages that should be awarded to the surviving family members.