Gainesville Wrongful Death Attorneys
Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute & Your Rights
If someone you love tragically passed away due to the negligent or unlawful conduct of another, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. This is true whether or not the person who caused your loved one’s death is charged with or convicted of a crime.
Florida’s wrongful death statute is complex, and navigating the legal process can be daunting when you are already going through one of the most difficult times in your life. At Schackow & Mercadante, we can help. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys and staff are here to support you and your family as you seek the justice you deserve.
We are dedicated advocates for victims of negligence, including those left behind in the wake of a tragic and fatal event. We are here to provide the personalized legal representation you need during this immensely challenging time, and we will fight for you and your family every step of the way.
Continue reading to learn more about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, or contact us directlyat (352) 261-6767 for a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys.
When Is a Death Considered “Wrongful?”
The loss of a family member is always tragic, but when an individual dies due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another person or party, the healing process can be extremely difficult.
Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, a death is considered “wrongful” when it occurs as a result of:
- A defective product
- Medical malpractice
- An intentional act
Essentially, this means that if someone else was directly or (in some cases) indirectly responsible for your loved one’s death, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims often arise from the following incidents:
- Car, motorcycle, truck, and other vehicle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Boating, ATV, and other recreation accidents
- Serious falls, including slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites and other animal attacks
- Aviation accidents
- Medical negligence
- Defective drugs and medical products
- Defective consumer goods
- Nursing home abuse
- Work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses
- Assault, battery, manslaughter, homicide, and other crimes
In many cases, wrongful death lawsuits occur alongside criminal homicide or murder charges. These are two separate legal proceedings, and the outcome of one does not necessarily affect the outcome of the other. In fact, it is not uncommon for someone to be found liable in a wrongful death claim even if they are not convicted of a crime. This is because the burden of proof is somewhat more lenient in civil claims than in criminal cases.
In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Sometimes known as the “executor,” the personal representative is someone named in the decedent’s will or, if the individual died without a will, someone appointed by the court.
Although the personal representative must be the one to actually file the wrongful death claim, he or she does so on behalf of certain eligible beneficiaries, as well as the estate as a whole. The personal representative must list every beneficiary and interested party, including anyone who can prove that they were dependent on the decedent.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, beneficiaries may include—but are not limited to—the following parties:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- Any children of the decedent
- Adult children who were dependent on the decedent
- The decedent’s surviving parents
- Adoptive parents or children
At Schackow & Mercadante, our Gainesville wrongful death attorneys represent personal representatives and beneficiaries entitled to compensation for damages resulting from the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another. We can review the details of your case and provide more information specific to your situation.
Damages in Florida Wrongful Death Cases
The sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one isn’t just emotionally difficult; it also leaves families struggling to cope with significant financial challenges. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can not only seek to hold the liable party accountable but also work to recover financial compensation for certain economic and non-economic damages related to your loved one’s passing.
In Florida, it is possible to recover the following types of damages in a wrongful death claim:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral/burial costs
- Lost wages, income, and benefits
- The reasonable value of earnings and benefits the decedent would have earned
- Loss of services and support provided by the decedent
- Mental pain and suffering experienced by the surviving beneficiary
- Loss of companionship, protection, love, counsel, and support
- Loss of parental guidance, companionship, and instruction
At Schackow & Mercadante, we know that no amount of compensation can ever make up for the immense loss you and your family have suffered. However, we have also seen firsthand the struggles families go through after a sudden loss, as well as the relief a fair settlement or jury verdict can bring.
Our goal is to help you recover the maximum compensation you and your family are owed, not only to help offset some of the unexpected financial burdens you are now facing but also to ensure the responsible party is brought to justice.
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Over 125 Years of Combined Experience
Practicing in The Gainesville Area 55+ Years
In Florida, you have less time to file a wrongful death lawsuit than a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations on wrongful death cases in Florida is just two years from the date of death. If you wait too long, and the statute of limitations expires, the court will most likely dismiss your case. If this happens, you will not be able to pursue compensation for your damages.
Although taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind following the tragic loss of a family member, it is important that you reach out to our Gainesville wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible. We can immediately begin investigating the incident that led to your loved one’s death to identify the liable party and put together powerful evidence on your behalf.
Throughout the entire process, you can rely on our team to be here for you, available to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. We care deeply about the people we serve, and we are dedicated to making our community a safer and better place for all.
From our office in Gainesville, we serve clients throughout North Central Florida. Call (352) 261-6767 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation today.
“I am a UF student who got injured on campus and Schackhow and Mercadante handled my case extremely well. Everything was settled in about a year and I highly recommend them for any personal injury case in which you are a victim in any capacity.”