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There are many instances where a wrongful death can occur. Our Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyers are here to assist you. Whether through distracted driving accidents or otherwise, it's never a pleasant thing to lose your loved one. It's even more heartbreaking when the death is due to another careless actions.

The pain of such death on the deceased's family is excruciating. That's why Florida laws allow bereaved persons to get some compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

The attorneys at VG Law are always your best bet for a successful claim. Contact us today and receive a 100% Free Consultation!

What Is the Meaning of Wrongful Death?

Death is one of the characteristics of every living thing or person. That means that every one of us will die eventually. However, some deaths are recognized by law while some others aren't. Wrongful death refers to such deaths that the law considers illegal.

In simpler terms, when someone dies wrongfully, it is not due to any natural causes or any punishment that the law allows. Most of the time, someone else caused the death through carelessness, negligence, or recklessness. However, not all accidental deaths qualify as wrongful deaths. You will need a wrongful death attorney to be sure of the success chances in your wrongful death lawsuit

The most common causes of wrongful death include: 

How To Prove Wrongful Death

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In Fort Lauderdale and indeed, anywhere else, it is not enough to claim wrongful death. To get damages for this wrong, you have to prove it. First, it's important to note that wrongful death claims are not criminal. It is a tort, and like many other civil cases, the burden of proving the defendant's guilt is on the plaintiff.

Unlike in criminal cases where the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, in wrongful death claims, it's lower. That's because proving a wrongful death claim depends on the preponderance of the evidence. What that means is simple; the party with the more convincing proof wins.

To this end, it's important for the claimants to gather as much evidence as they can on the responsible party. They must also have sufficient proof to show that they've suffered significantly as a result of the death. Proving a wrongful death claim sufficiently is the only way to guarantee fair compensation for the claimants. In some cases, proving wrongful death can require calling expert witnesses.

What Are the Key Elements in a Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Action?

Proving wrongful death essentially means proving the following primary elements:

Existence of a Duty of Care

A duty of care is a legal obligation to avoid any action or omission that is likely to harm others. It is a responsibility that the law imposes on someone to exercise reasonable care in their dealings with others. This is particularly important when performing any action that can potentially harm another.

The duty of care must be one that is imposed by law. For example, the law places a responsibility on motorists to use the road in a way that doesn't cause harm to others. That means that every driver must adhere to all traffic rules and road safety best practices.

Duty of care is also evident in many other sectors and spheres. For instance, product liability law imposes a duty of care on goods manufacturers. To this end, product manufacturers are to exercise reasonable care to avoid any defect that can harm consumers.

Again, in healthcare, health care professionals must avoid all negligent actions that can cause harm to their patients. It's pretty much the same thing for swimming pool accidents. Pool owners must do everything in their power to prevent any harm to swimmers.

Negligence

Negligence typically means failure in caring for or exercising due caution as regards a thing or person. It means carelessness and recklessness. Put in legal terms, it means that an individual or company has breached a duty of care.

An at-fault driver who causes a fatal accident is a negligent driver. It's the same thing for an employer who caused a workplace accident by refusing to provide a safe working environment for employees. Similarly, a doctor who fails to provide a reasonable standard of medical care for his patients is negligent.

In summary, for someone to be negligent, they must first have a duty of care to the victim. Next, they must have breached that duty of care that caused harm to the plaintiffs.

Causation

While negligence is a material ingredient in wrongful death actions, it is not enough. It is also important to prove that the reckless action caused the victim's death and nothing else. Where several other factors could possibly cause the death, it's usually difficult to prove wrongful death.

For example, a negligent party can cause a common car accident that results in the accident injury victims being hospitalized. If the victims die eventually, it's easy to say that the at-fault driver has caused a wrongful death accident. However, investigations can reveal that the deceased died as a result of an underlying illness and not accident injuries. In such vehicle accidents, the claimants can lose. 

Damages

The ultimate aim of filing a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawsuit is to get damages. However, when it comes to proving the claim, damages also mean actual harm that the claimants are suffering. The plaintiffs must show that the deceased's death has caused them hardship of some sort.

Sometimes the damages are quantifiable. The damages can also be unquantifiable. They can also be financial and non-economic losses. However, regardless of the type of damages, the claimants must prove them.

What Are the Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The different types of damages in a wrongful death claim include:

  1. Guidance loss
  2. Loss of society
  3. Medical expenses
  4. Loss of service
  5. Companionship damages
  6. Loss of future care
  7.  Loss of gifts
  8. Burial expenses
  9. Loss of consortium
  10. Pain and suffering
  11. Loss of potential earnings, etc.

For simplicity, we like to classify damages into punitive, compensatory, economic, and non-economic damages. The courts award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party. When the damages serve as warnings to future negligent parties, we call them exemplary damages.

Compensatory damages, on the other hand, serve as a relief to the plaintiffs for the unique losses they suffered. These damages differ according to the peculiarities of each case. For example, if the deceased is a child, the parents cannot receive loss of parental companionship. It's the same way unmarried plaintiffs cannot receive loss of spousal consortium damages.

Economic damages are reimbursements for expenses due to wrongful death. This includes the medical costs, funeral expenses, etc. It can also mean money that the dependents would have enjoyed if the deceased had not died. That includes future lost wages, loss of inheritance, etc.

Noneconomic damages are not measurable. They are usually subject to the court's discretion. That includes pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional anguish, etc.

There are more types of damages a liable party can pay in a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced legal team can help you determine what damages suit your case best.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

Whether you live in Fort Lauderdale or Orlando, Florida, you can pursue a wrongful death claim if you are eligible. Generally, every American state has its laws on who can sue in a wrongful death action. In Florida, which includes Broward County, the following persons can bring a legal action for wrongful death:

  1. The deceased person's spouse 
  2. The deceased's children
  3. Parents of the deceased
wrongful death law firm in Fort Lauderdale

The above are the primary persons that the law allows to sue in wrongful death actions. The law refers to them as personal representatives. However, in some cases, the deceased may be an orphan with no children or spouse. In such cases where there are no primary parties, the law provides for other surviving relatives to sue. Usually, the courts will select a personal representative to sue on behalf of the deceased's estate, especially where there is no will.

Ask a Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Lawyer for Help!

Wrongful deaths always bring unbearable pain and hardship to the deceased's family. Grieving a loved one's death is a terrible situation to be in. However, it's worse when you take on the responsibility of suing the wrongdoer at the same time.

Whether you wish to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit, you need a wrongful death lawyer. They will help you bear your legal burdens as it relates to the case. More so, having a lawyer gives you ample time to grief without added concerns. 

If you live in Fort Lauderdale or anywhere in Broward County, we can help you. At VG Law, we understand how it feels to lose a loved one. As such, our priority is to make the road to compensation an easy one for you.

Our experienced personal injury lawyers are with you to give you all the legal help you need for fair compensation. Give us a ring today.

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