While a fairly small community, Trinity’s location near larger Florida cities New Port Richey and Palm Harbor and not too far from Tampa make it an ideal place from which to commute for jobs or entertainment.
But the traffic volume on Trinity, Mitchell, and Seven Springs Boulevards or Little Road creates high accident potential, especially during our wet seasons.
Preventable accidents can injure many people and leave others dead. The loss of a loved one is a difficult time, but a wrongful death claim can help the surviving family recover financially.
A Trinity wrongful death lawyer at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys can help residents and guests pursue negligent parties after the loss of their loved ones. Reach out to a compassionate personal injury attorney at our firm today for a free consultation.
What Is Wrongful Death?
According to Florida Statute 768.19, wrongful death is when a party’s negligence or wrongful act causes a person’s death. The accident would have allowed the victim to seek damages if the death had not occurred. The defendant would have been legally liable otherwise as well.
Wrongful death cases in Trinity are civil, not criminal, matters. Criminal cases generally are punitive and work to punish criminals. The government is the entity to bring a criminal case to court. The defendant faces potential fines, prison time, and probation upon conviction.
Most wrongful death lawsuits are tort claims, and the court provides a way for surviving loved ones to get compensation. The estate is the one to bring a claim to court instead of the government. The money the defendant pays would go to you to help cover financial and emotional losses.
Types of Wrongful Death Accidents
Wrongful death claims can arise from many accidents.
Common examples include:
The number of motorists and frequency of driving make fatal collisions common. An average of 3,098 fatal crashes occur every year in Florida. The deaths involve drivers and passengers. Speeding, use of alcohol, distraction, and aggressive driving are contributing factors.
Injuries in a job environment can come from a variety of sources. Construction and other manual labor work have a higher risk of harm. In some cases, a person sustains a fatal injury. The victim may have fallen due to a weak ladder or railing. Other causes are fires and electrocution.
Researchers have found medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States. Fatal medical malpractice could be the failure to monitor a patient after a procedure. Prescription errors and an incorrect diagnosis might have led to a worsening condition.
The victim could have died because the property owner or manager knowingly neglected their legal responsibilities. The environment has to remain safe for visitors. A lack of maintenance might have led to a fatal fall.
Regardless of the accident, our dedicated Trinity wrongful death attorneys work with you to identify the liable party and recover losses.
How to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
Similar to other personal injury cases, you need to prove three elements to achieve a successful claim. The first step is to establish how the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. If the deceased person hired a doctor’s services, the doctor should provide standard care.
Next, you have to show how the at-fault party breached their duty of care. The other side may have done something to keep you safe or failed to do something to protect you. A reasonable person would have made different choices.
A property owner may have failed to install security cameras or proper lighting, or repair damaged staircases, for example.
Once you prove the breach, you need to establish the connection between the other party’s actions and the wrongful death. The other driver could provide evidence they were not responsible for the crash even if they went above the speed limit. The wrongful death could have been the result of a mechanical issue.
The proactive wrongful death lawyers in Trinity at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys investigate each case thoroughly to prove the defendant acted recklessly.
What You Can Recover in Damages
The survivors of Trinity wrongful death victims can receive compensation to cover multiple damages. The court awards damages to the deceased’s surviving family and the estate. Loved ones can obtain money for funeral services, medical expenses, and mental pain and suffering.
The court calculates how much the plaintiffs should receive for the loss of companionship, loss of guidance, and loss of support and services. A lawyer can inform you of what your claim reimburses you for after a settlement.
The victim’s estate can collect reimbursement for lost wages and certain work benefits. The court considers the value of earnings the deceased would have made in savings. Another awarded damage could be the funeral costs if the estate paid for burial expenses instead.
Florida does not limit how much someone can get in terms of economic and non-economic damages. The value of each case is not the same for everyone. Our seasoned Trinity accidental death attorneys can maximize the compensation you deserve.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The personal representative, or the executor of the deceased’s estate, is the one to bring forward a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim’s will or estate plan can pick someone as their personal representative. The executor should be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. In many cases, a person’s will usually names a family member.
However, the deceased can name an authorized bank or trust company. If a will or plan does not exist, the court appoints someone to fill the role. The personal representative must include the names of the estate with an interest in the claim.
Who Can Receive Compensation?
Florida allows specific family members to get part of the settlement. Children under the age of 25 are eligible for compensation. If the victim was a minor, the parents could obtain reimbursement. Usually, the victim’s spouse has an entitlement to recover damages. Absent a spouse, the adult children can claim the money.
After the primary beneficiaries had a chance to file a claim, other relatives who depended on the deceased could gain compensation.
Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
If you plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Trinity, you should do so soon. Florida’s wrongful death laws give people a limited time to get compensation. Most cases only have two years after the date of the deceased’s death. You could lose your right to recover damages if you miss the deadline.
In a medical malpractice case, you have two years after the incident took place. However, you could have two years after you discovered the accident.
Life can become busy, and time can go by quickly. You should reach out to a capable wrongful death attorney in Trinity to ensure you avoid any setbacks.
Benefits of a Wrongful Death Attorney
Some people hesitate to hire a wrongful death lawyer in Trinity for various reasons. Many lawsuits are complex, and you can benefit from the help of a firm. An attorney handles the paperwork and makes sure you do not miss any deadlines.
Other benefits are:
Maximize the value of a claim
An experienced Trinity accidental death lawyer knows what a case is worth. Your attorney investigates the accident to evaluate all the ways you suffered from your loss. They determine the highest value and pursue the owed compensation. A person can’t always calculate non-economic damages accurately without a lawyer’s help.
Representation during the trial
Most wrongful death lawsuits in Trinity settle before they reach the courtroom. Trials have a lower possibility for favorable outcomes for plaintiffs. If your case does go to trial, a lawyer can let you know what to expect.
An adjuster might contact you for an initial offer worth less than what you should get. They might pressure you to accept. Your attorney speaks with the other party to negotiate to get the most out of a settlement.
Perenich Law Injury Attorneys can support you during every step of the lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1. What Happens if the Defendant Dies?
In a few cases, the defendant died due to the accident before you had a chance to file a claim. Other times, the at-fault party might have passed away because of unrelated reasons. Regardless, some people have concerns about the future of their lawsuits.
You can still pursue compensation against the other side, but you would negotiate with the wrongdoer’s estate. The deceased defendant would have a personal representative to help settle the case. The other party might not have enough in terms of assets.
Nevertheless, the insurance company could still be liable to pay the awarded damages.
#2. What Happens if One of the Survivors Die?
Multiple people can be beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim. A case can take several months to a year to complete. In some situations, one of the survivors in a wrongful death case passes away before the claim can be resolved.
However, the person’s estate can still receive a part of the lawsuit’s settlement. The compensation for the deceased survivor would become limited. The estate would collect money for lost support and services up to the date of their death.
Usually, the deceased survivor will have a personal representative to receive the money from the victim’s executor.
#3. What Are Common Defense Arguments?
A part of the lawsuit process is to show the defendant was negligent. While you gather proof, the other side could argue how they did not cause the incident. They might gather evidence to disprove the link between the defendant’s actions and the wrongful death.
Another tactic could involve a living spouse’s remarriage. You might think otherwise, but the liable party could use your remarriage against you. Florida Statute 768.21 makes evidence of the living spouse’s relationship status admissible in court.
The evidence could imply the spouse had a desire to break away from the deceased. As a result, the remarriage could reduce the survivor’s credibility.
The defense could argue the victim knew or should have known of the risks of the event. The at-fault party might have had the deceased person sign a waiver. However, waivers generally do not remove all liability from the defendant.
#4. How Will You Receive the Settlement?
When the other side pays the settlement, you will receive the money in one of two ways. The first way is a structured settlement. You would get compensation through a series of ongoing checks. Survivors of the deceased victim can get financial support over a long time.
Most people get a lump sum instead. A lump sum is a single payment of all the money the defendant owes you. You can have access to financial resources sooner and pay unexpected expenses. Some people prefer lump sums over a structured settlement.
You and your attorney can discuss your case and learn what form of payout you should get.
#5. Can You Sue After Your Case Settles?
Once both sides settle, you likely will sign a written agreement. The document releases the defendant from all liability for the accident. When you sign the form, you accept the money as complete reimbursement for the wrongful death claim.
You would be unable to sue the at-fault party for further damages of the same incident in the future. The document continues to apply even if you later discover your case is worth more. However, a couple of exceptions could apply to allow you to reopen your claim.
The defendant and their insurance company must act in good faith. If you prove the other side behaved in a fraudulent or coercive way, you can continue your case. Another exception is if you discover multiple parties were responsible for a loved one’s death.
Written agreements remove liability for one defendant. However, you could sue a different entity for compensation for the same accident. The exceptions rarely occur, but you should speak to your attorney if you feel one may apply to your settled claim.
Talk to a Trinity Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Reach out to a lawyer if you believe someone’s negligent actions led to the death of a loved one. Our team at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys works hard to help victims and their loved ones in Trinity.
Many people experience stress, grief, and mental anguish. Our attorneys can handle every aspect of your claim and give you the support you need. You can contact us for your free consultation to see if we are right for you.