It’s horrible when a loved one dies, but it’s even worse when their death was caused by someone else’s negligence. When this happens, grieving loved ones are often plagued with complex questions. One of the most common questions is, who files the wrongful death claim? It’s important to find an attorney who can provide concise answers during such a confusing time.
Tragic circumstances happen fast. Nobody wants to be dealing with the grieving process while trying to understand how to get justice for their loved ones. Focus your energy on getting through each day rather than on the financial burdens that a tragedy left behind. Get an experienced legal team that will take the load off some of your worries. It’s not necessary to put together the pieces of your life alone.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get to the basics. What counts as a wrongful death claim? Many people don’t realize that they are familiar with one of the most famous wrongful death claims in modern history: the OJ Simpson Trial.
Wrongful death claims are lawsuits that can be brought to court if someone died and someone else was at fault for the death. The result of these lawsuits is financial compensation for the victim’s families, as well as accountability for the at-fault party.
Wrongful death claims can be made when the victim’s death was caused indirectly or directly by the at-fault party. For example, if a manufacturer sold contaminated medication that indirectly caused illness – a wrongful death claim is appropriate. On the other hand, if a manufacturer sold a product that was a choking hazard and didn’t provide adequate warning labels, that could be a wrongful death claim, as well.
Wrongful death claims can also be made in instances of intentional death, such as murder. The OJ Simpson trial is a perfect example of this situation. Although OJ Simpson was acquitted of murder, he was found liable for a wrongful death claim. These claims are in civil court rather than criminal court and are easier to prove.
How Do Wrongful Death Claims Happen
As stated before, wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims if the victim had lived. Similarly, wrongful death claims can happen in many different scenarios. Some of these can include:
- Anesthesia malpractice
- Birth injuries resulting in death
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck crashes
- Defective product injuries
- Emergency room medical malpractice
- Fatal accidents occurring during a supervised recreational activity
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Nursing home abuse
- Premises liability accidents
- Workplace accidents
As a general rule, if someone could have filed for a personal injury claim if they’d survived, that family can now file for a wrongful death claim. As stated before in the OJ Simpson case, even if there’s a criminal case happening concurrently, families can still file a wrongful death claim. Family members are often overtaken with grief in the weeks or months after a family member dies. In Florida, the statute of limitations to file a claim is two years.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?
Many loved ones of a wrongful death victim are impacted, but only specific people are allowed to file a wrongful death claim. The only one who can file the claim is someone who is a representative of the decedent’s estate. The representative has up to two years to file the wrongful death claim, which is not as much time as many think. This time frame is actually shorter than many personal injury statutes of limitation in Florida. Find a legal team to help your family as soon as possible, so you don’t miss the window. When filing a claim, the family should be aware of who will and who will not qualify for compensation from the claim.
In order to qualify to receive compensation from a wrongful death claim, you must be a:
- Child under 25 years old
- Other close sibling or relative who was relying on the victim for support
How Can a Lawyer Help During a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are incredibly sensitive types of lawsuits. There may be times when your family receives uncomfortable or even emotionally hurtful questions. No family wants to go over the details of their loved one’s death. However, in order to hold the at-fault party liable, this will happen. An experienced attorney will help your family manage these uncomfortable situations with respect for your family and the victim.
An attorney will also look at your case as an individual to determine your needs. What outstanding medical bills is your family taking on as a burden? How is your family’s future impacted by this loss? Is there a loss of inheritance, or are there children who have lost parental guidance and instruction?
Returning to our OJ Simpson trial example, a wrongful death claim can be the only way families can get accountability from the at-fault party. Since criminal cases require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, there’s a chance that the at-fault party will be acquitted. For a wrongful death suit, you simply have to prove that the family’s version of the events is more likely than not.
Galimidi Law has supported thousands of clients during the worst moments in their life. Their team removes the stress and pressure that families experience to provide the most compassionate care possible. Each family’s case is thoroughly investigated so they can focus on healing. To speak with a reputable criminal defense attorney, contact 305-692-0125 for a free consultation.