Coping with the death of a loved one is one of the most emotionally difficult and stressful aspects of life. It is even more devastating when the death is a result of someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior. 

The attorneys at Hudgins Law Firm are committed to helping families who have lost a loved one due to negligence on the part of another. Using our experience and compassionate knowledge, we will help you determine if you and your family are owed compensation in a wrongful death settlement. While we can’t bring your loved one back, we can support you by bringing closure to your tragedy. 

What is Wrongful Death?

According to Flordia Statutes (768.19), wrongful death is when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person. Had the deceased lived, they could have pursued their own personal injury claim by filing a civil lawsuit. In the case of wrongful death, however, family members have the right to file a wrongful death suit against the negligent parties. 

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death suit can be filed in circumstances in which the victim is killed as a result of wrongful action by the defendant. Some of the most common circumstances include:

  • Medical Malpractice: This includes negligence associated with a medical professional such as failure to diagnose a condition, incorrect diagnosis, and inadequate care. If a patient dies as a result of negligence, a wrongful death suit may be possible against the medical professional. 
  • Motor Vehicle Accident: This includes negligence involving fatal car accidents. The accident could be due to an intoxicated or distracted driver, car manufacturer’s defect, weather conditions, or road defects. 
  • Workplace Accident: This includes negligence when someone dies in an accident while at work. Construction workers, electrical installers, and truck drivers are some occupations that have a higher rate of work-related deaths. Common causes of death include defective or unsafe equipment and falling objects. 
  • Product Liability: This includes negligence due to defective or faulty products which cause injury resulting in death. Defective products can include but are not limited to medical devices and mechanical failures. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

According to Florida Statutes (Chapter 768), a wrongful death suit may be filed by the personal representative of the deceased or by the person to whom the amount recovered belongs. Parties that may file a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Living spouse or domestic partner
  • Child(ren) of the deceased
  • Parent or guardian of the deceased (if minor child)
  • A personal representative of the deceased person’s estate
Regardless of who files suit, a portion of any amount recovered will be set aside for dependents (spouse or domestic partner, minor children). 

Wrongful Death Damage Settlements

In a wrongful death claim, surviving family members may be able to receive monetary compensation for damages. Some categories of losses include:

  • Economic damages: These include damages resulting in expenses associated with a loved one’s death. Some of these expenses include medical bills, loss of insurance benefits, loss of inheritance, loss of expected income (from the deceased job or Social Security), and funeral expenses.
  • Non-economic damages: These include damages resulting in the emotional and mental distress of the loss of a loved one. Loss of love and companionship, loss of guidance and nurturing provided by the deceased, and emotional pain and suffering fall into this category. 
  • Punitive damages: These include damages to penalize and punish the defendant for negligent or reckless behavior resulting in the loved one’s death. 
  • Legal fees: These include expenses incurred from an attorney to file the lawsuit. The defendant is often responsible for paying these fees. 

At Hudgins Law Firm, our sole responsibility is to YOU. You deserve experienced legal counsel who understands your emotional and financial hardship and can help you recover financially from the death of a family member. Having served the greater Tampa area for more than 35-years, we understand the importance of building relationships with our clients. To set up a FREE consultation, call us toll-free at 800-950-5534, or complete the contact form on our website.