3 things you absolutely need to know about wrongful death cases
The most difficult experience that a person has to endure is the loss of a loved one. When you lose a parent, sibling or a spouse, you feel like the whole world is crashing down on you. The sadness diminishes as time passes, but it never really goes away. When a person close to you is taken away from you by someone else, the anger is even more difficult to tolerate. That person died due to someone’s carelessness. As you already know, you have a claim for a wrongful death. If you wish to bring a claim against the person that is responsible for the death of your loved one, there are some things that you should know. Lawsuits of this kind are difficult to prove, not to mention that the rules vary from state to state. These are the most important things to keep in mind when you are pursuing a wrongful death case. Read carefully.
If you have a legitimate case, you should not wait too long
Determining eligibility is the first thing to be done. If you are a surviving spouse, you have the right to sue for wrongful death. Attention should be paid to the fact that children too can file a lawsuit, as long as there is no spouse of the departed. Any fatality that is caused by negligent acts or omissions can result in a wrongful death claim. You are eligible to file a lawsuit, but do you have a strong case? If you are not sure, then you must discuss things over with an attorney. A legal professional will tell you if you can sue for monetary damages. Damages can only be obtained through a lawsuit, you know.
As mentioned earlier, the rules vary from state to state. An attorney with experience will be well familiarized with the lawsuits in Florida. According to the law, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is to file the lawsuit. The wrongful death claim is filed on the behalf of the person that has passed away and the surviving family members. It is not a good idea to wait too long to take legal action. The reason for this is that there are statutes and limitations. Any Miami wrongful death attorney will tell you that formal accusations must be made within two years of the date of the death. You may exceed the deadline, but only under certain circumstances.
Criminal versus civil cases
The wrongful death claim in brought in a civil action. This is not the same thing as bringing criminal charges. For your information, criminal charges result in some sort of punishment, such as imprisonment. It is hard to establish whether a case is criminal or civil. To put it simply, it is difficult to make the difference between criminal and civil liability. Let us say that the death of the loved one was not intentional. That may be true. However, if there has been reckless or even negligent action, the person in question can face criminal charges for manslaughter. The difference between murder and manslaughter lies in the state of mind of the killer – mens rea, in other words. When it comes to the criminal case, the defendant must be guilty without any reasonable doubt.
If you sue for wrongful death, you cannot file a criminal or civil claim at the same time. It is simply not possible as the laws are independent. The types of damages that you can seek in a civil case include medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, loss of inheritance, and pain and suffering. The damages awarded for wrongful death are fair. As far as determining pecuniary loss is concerned, factor like age, character, and condition are taken into consideration. Naturally, we are talking about the deceased person. Non-economic damages may be awarded as compensation for all the pain and suffering. A legal professional will help you understand the different ways that damages can be awarded.
Bystanders are able to recover damages
As surprising as it may seem, bystanders have the possibility to recover damages, under certain circumstances, of course. Family members who have had the misfortune to witness the death of a loved one and have endured a significant amount of pain. The extent of the recovery is limited by the amount of damage that they suffer. Emotional distress includes shock and psychological trauma. The bystanders are represented by children, parents, and siblings. The fact of the matter is that the pursuit of a claim requires an expert testimony and a skilled attorney.
So, a member of the family can recover damages if they have arrived at the scene shortly after the accident. What about you? Well, you should seek legal counsel immediately. The only thing you should be thinking about is pursuing legal action and getting things done already.