Has your loved one been killed in an accident in St. Petersburg, FL? You may be entitled to damages from those responsible for your tragic loss A St. Petersburg wrongful death lawyer at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers will help you seek justice and hold the at-fault party accountable for the unimaginable harm they have caused your family.
Contact our law office today at (727) 787-2500 to discuss your wrongful death claim with our experienced lawyers. We have fought for injury victims and survivors for more than 65 years and we will put this experience to work for you.
How Our St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim
The death of a loved one is painful enough, but it is even more dreadful when it is the result of someone’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions.
While compensation may be the last thing on your mind initially, a loved one’s death can still cause a financial burden on your family as you struggle to move on without their income, support, and guidance.
A wrongful death action allows survivors to hold the responsible party accountable and recover damages to help replace their loved one’s contributions to the family. Sadly, insurance companies often fight wrongful death claims aggressively due to their high potential value. You deserve a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer who will fight for you and guide you through the legal process during this emotional time.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has represented Tampa Bay injury victims and their families for more than 65 years. Our AV-rated law firm boasts two Board Certified Civil Trial lawyers with decades of experience and national recognition. We have recovered over $100 million for our clients – and we’ll fight to get you every cent you deserve, too.
When you hire Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to represent you in your wrongful death claim, you can count on our St. Petersburg wrongful death lawyers to:
- Offer legal guidance at every stage of your case
- Conduct a thorough investigation into your loved one’s accident
- Identify parties who may be liable for your loved one’s death
- Work with experts to prove liability, causation, and damages
- Argue on your behalf the value of the support, services, guidance, companionship, and protection your loved one provided
- Negotiate a settlement offer with the insurance company
- Take your case before a jury if needed
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, we are not afraid to present your case in court to fight for the full compensation your family deserves. Call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case and how to take the next steps.
What Is Wrongful Death in Florida?
A wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to another person’s negligence or misconduct. Under Florida law, certain family members have the right to sue the person responsible for their loved one’s death through a wrongful death claim.
Florida Statutes Section 768.19 states that survivors are entitled to damages when a death occurs when the event otherwise would have allowed the decedent to recover damages themselves if death had not occurred.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims in St. Petersburg, FL
A fatal accident can occur in many ways, including traffic accidents, boating accidents, and workplace accidents. A wrongful death claim can also arise due to intentional misconduct such as a criminal act like robbery or assault.
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, we represent survivors in bringing wrongful death claims involving:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boat accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Drowning accidents
- Workplace accidents like construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability claims
- Defective products
If your loved one was killed in an accident or due to intentional wrongdoing, contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. Our compassionate St. Petersburg wrongful death attorneys will help you explore your options to hold the responsible party accountable.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Like other states, Florida only allows certain people to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The personal representative for the decedent’s estate must file a wrongful death claim in Florida. If a personal representative isn’t named in the decedent’s will, they will be appointed by a court.
A wrongful death case can only be brought on behalf of the estate of the deceased person and surviving family members.
Family members who may recover damages include:
- Children (Children under 25 are entitled to higher damages than children who are adults)
- Other blood relatives or adoptive siblings who were partly or completely dependent on the decedent for support and services.
Florida law makes an exception for children born to unmarried parents, however. When the parents of a child were not married, the child can only recover damages when their mother dies. Damages are only available for a father’s wrongful death if the father formally recognized the child and obligated for financial support.
Note that relatives who were financially dependent on the decedent are only entitled to file a claim after primary beneficiaries (spouse, children, and parents) have a chance to file.
What Damages Are Available in a St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Case?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, survivors are entitled to many types of damages for their loss of support, services, companionship, and guidance. A wrongful death claim can also involve damages for lost income, funeral expenses, and other costs.
Florida Statutes Section 768.21 clearly covers the types of damages available in a wrongful death case. The damages that can be recovered differ between survivors and the decedent’s estate.
The decedent’s estate can recover damages only for:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of net accumulations, or the estimated value of the decedent’s estate if they had lived
- Medical and funeral expenses
Survivors, however, may be entitled to damages such as:
- Loss of support and services
- Lost parental guidance and companionship
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Emotional distress
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by the survivor
“Support” under Florida law can include contributions in kind, including lost contributions in terms of money or property. “Services” refers to tasks the decedent used to perform but will now come with an expense for the survivors such as work for a business, caring for children, and home maintenance.
Companionship, instruction, and guidance form the basis of the “intangible” damages in a wrongful death claim. These damages can’t be calculated precisely: it will be left to a jury to decide their value. An experienced wrongful death lawsuit will highlight facts in your case and argue for the maximum value.
A jury may consider many factors like:
- The life expectancy of the decedent and survivors
- The relationship between the decedent and survivors
- The likelihood the survivor would have needed additional support eventually and whether the decedent would have helped
- The cost to hire someone to perform the services the decedent provided, even if survivors do not do so
In rare cases, survivors may be entitled to punitive damages after a loved one’s death. Unlike other damages which are compensation for the losses you have suffered, punitive damages are designed to punish the liable party.
Punitive damages may be available in cases involving “gross and flagrant” negligence or a disregard for human life and safety. Punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or 3x the amount of compensatory damages.
What’s the Statute of Limitations For Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in St. Petersburg, Florida?
You have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. Under Florida Statutes Section 95.11, an action for wrongful death must be filed within two years of the date of death. This statute of limitations may only be postponed in very limited circumstances.
If you do not file your claim by the deadline, you lose your legal right to seek damages through the court. Do not make the mistake of assuming you can wait to pursue your claim. It’s important to consult with a wrongful death lawyer in St. Petersburg as soon as possible to conduct a thorough investigation, build evidence, and establish liability in your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Lawyer
Money can never bring back your loved one or ease the emotional turmoil and grief you have been left with. However, a wrongful death claim can help you hold the responsible party accountable.
It can also protect your family from financial devastation after your loved one’s death and give you the opportunity to properly grieve.
At Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers, a compassionate St. Petersburg wrongful death lawyer is here to help to recover the damages you are owed by the negligent party.
Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you during this difficult time.