Unfortunately, the national average for legal literacy remains low in America. Today, many Americans are unaware of basic constitutional rights, legal proceedings, and civil suits. Florida attorney Greg Hoag, a lawyer with more than eighteen years of experience representing clients in the St. Petersburg area, hopes to spread awareness regarding a number of legal topics and common lawsuits. Each year, hundreds of thousands of American’s lose their life in wrongful death scenarios, including medical malpractice, automobile accidents, and unsafe work environments. While many of these wrongful death events take place with a clear at-fault party, very few survivors pursue litigation. Today, Florida attorney Greg Hoag will provide an overview of wrongful death lawsuits in hopes of informing survivors of their right to file a wrongful death claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim
When a person dies due to the fault of another individual, entity, or group, the survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit to try to collect compensation for the deceased’s loss. Lost wages, funeral expenses, or lost companionship can be seen as damages within a wrongful death lawsuit. During the last century, state and federal courts created the right to file a wrongful death claim as a response to an increase in industrial and automotive accidental deaths. Wrongful death claims can involve a wide range of fatal accidents, including car accidents, medical malpractice, premise liability accidents, unintentional poisoning and overdoses, workplace accidents and illnesses, and drowning and boating accidents.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim must be filed by or on behalf of those who have suffered damages from an individual’s death or illness. These “real parties in interest” range from state to state but may include immediate family members, life partners, financial dependents, putative spouses, partners of a deceased fetus, and distant family members. In Florida, a wrongful death claim must be brought by the decedent’s estate.
Who Can Be Sued For Wrongful Death
Wrongful death defendants can range from individual persons, companies, groups, employers, employees, and government agencies. Prosecutors must be able to establish that the defendant’s actions led directly to the death of the victim. Some of the most common defendants within wrongful death lawsuits include:
– At-fault drivers of a fatal automobile accident
– Manufacturers of dangerous or ineffective products or medical instruments
– The malpractice of a medical professional
– Employers who have failed to perform property safety inspections
It should be noted that certain government agencies and employers may be immune from wrongful death lawsuits.