Wrongful Death Cases

How Our Sarasota Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help

There’s nothing more tragic than the sudden death of a loved one, especially if it’s caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

Losing a loved one takes an enormous emotional and financial toll on family and friends with effects lasting for years. While no amount of money can make up for your loss, your family does deserve compensation and justice for the pain you have endured.

At Heintz Law, we represent families in wrongful death cases. If you believe your loved one’s death was the result of another’s negligence, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible.

Call our Sarasota law firm at 941-238-0093 to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death lawyer.

What is a wrongful death case?

Florida Statutes Section 768.19 states that when a person’s death “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another person or some other entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida’s courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from it. 

In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death. The deadline may be postponed under specific circumstances.

A wrongful death attorney with experience handling these cases, like those at Heintz Law, can help you determine the statute of limitations expires.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?

Florida law requires the personal representative of the deceased to file the wrongful death claim. If there is no will or estate plan, the personal representative will be appointed by the court. The personal representative can file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased and their surviving family members.

For example, family members who may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case include:

  • the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents, and
  • any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.”

All family members with an interest in the case must be listed on the claim by the personal representative.  

What causes a wrongful death case?

There are countless things that can cause a wrongful death to occur. Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths include automobile and truck accidents, medical malpractice, and workplace accidents. 

Automobile Accidents

Auto accidents, reckless drivers, negligent drivers, road construction, and pedestrian fatalities are among the leading causes of death in the United States, and one of the most common causes of wrongful death lawsuits.

Medical Malpractice

When medical professionals fail to provide the required level of care resulting in the death of a patient, the family may seek a wrongful death lawsuit based on the following: a possible prescription error, emergency room error, surgical injury, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, or medical equipment malfunction.

Workplace Accidents

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018. On average, that’s 100 people a week or more than 14 deaths every day. Also in 2018, 1,008 or 21.1 percent of private-sector worker fatalities were in construction. 

The leading causes of private sector worker deaths, excluding highway collisions, were falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between (caught in or compressed by collapsing structure, equipment, objects, material).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (58.6 percent) of the construction worker deaths in 2018.

Regardless of the cause of death, there’s a good chance you have the right to seek the compensation you and your family deserve.

At Heintz Law, our wrongful death lawyers have been successfully resolving cases for clients in the Sarasota area for more than 30 years. Call our Sarasota location at 941-238-0093 to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers.

What are the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Damages that surviving family members may receive in a wrongful death case can include:

  • the value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member
  • loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person
  • mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child, and
  • medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.

The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:

  • lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived
  • lost “prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived, and
  • medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.

It’s important to remember that there’s no way to know what a wrongful death claim is worth unless a lawyer reviews your case. 

What is the cap for damages in Florida?

There are different kinds of damages—economic, noneconomic, and punitive—you can seek in a wrongful death case. Economic damages, such as loss of wages and medical bills, can be easily proven and don’t often have limitations.

Noneconomic and punitive damages, on the other hand, have defined limitations. 

In most cases, Florida limits punitive damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever amount is greater.

Regarding medical malpractice, the total noneconomic damages recoverable by all claimants from medical practitioners cannot exceed $300,000.

There’s also a cap of $150,000 on noneconomic damages for negligence of medical practitioners providing emergency cases and care.

Florida damages caps have numerous exceptions. Additionally, the court may choose to increase or eliminate caps on a case-by-case basis. 

You can find the entirety of Florida’s 2019 Statutes of Medical Malpractice and Related Matters here

How can Heintz Law help?

Wrongful death lawsuits seek to compensate the families of those killed by the negligent, reckless, or willful acts of others. Let us handle the legal complexities while you focus on being with your family.

We’ll thoroughly investigate the situation and do all we can to ensure the negligent party is held accountable. Our injury law firm represents families in Sarasota and the surrounding areas. We handle all cases on a contingent-fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless our Florida board-certified civil trial attorneys get results. 

Heintz Law advises Florida clients on wrongful death claims arising from vehicle accidents, falls, and other fatal incidents. Call 941-748-2916 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our Sarasota injury law firm.

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