Why should you hire a wrongful death lawyer? Losing a loved one is a devastating blow, especially when their death was the result of someone else’s careless and reckless behavior. If the wrongful death occurred in Tampa or any other Florida city, we want to help. A Tampa wrongful death lawyer from Distasio Law Firm is here to answer all of your questions.
More importantly, we have the experience, dedication, determination, and discipline to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. Our entire team of dedicated injury attorneys can work hard to pursue justice and fair monetary compensation for your loss.
Seeking Wrongful Death Damages in Florida
In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits are controlled by the Florida Wrongful Death Act, found at Florida Statutes § 768.16 – 768.26. These statutes cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:
- When a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate: In essence, if the deceased would have qualified to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived the accident, their heirs have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Who may file a wrongful death lawsuit: The deceased’s survivors may file a suit. “Survivors” can refer to the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, or other relatives who depended on the deceased for financial support.
- What happens if the defendant dies: If the party you are suing does not live long enough to see the case brought or decided, their “personal representative” will continue the case on their behalf.
Our Tampa-based wrongful death lawyers will fight for you and do everything in their power to recover damages for your loss.
What Wrongful Death Damages Are Available in Tampa?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act also covers what types of damages a person’s survivors may be able to collect. These include non-economic damages (for emotional suffering) and economic damages (for financial losses). You may be entitled to any or all of the following.
- Emotional distress: Losing a loved one can cause serious mental anguish that may never fully go away. You could be entitled to compensation for your emotional pain.
- Loss of companionship: The deceased was an invaluable and beloved member of your family. The guidance and affection they can no longer provide you with may be a compensable injury.
- Medical expenses: If you paid for the deceased’s medical care prior to their passing, you may be able to get that money back through a lawsuit.
- Funeral expenses: Similarly, if you paid for the deceased’s burial or funeral, you may be able to sue for compensation on that basis.
- Loss of financial support: We can calculate how much money the deceased would have earned over the course of their career and how much of that money would have gone to support each survivor.
What and how much you can recover in damages will depend on a variety of factors, including your relationship to the deceased and how much time elapsed between the deceased’s injury and death. Instead of trying to navigate these intricacies alone, let Distasio Law Firm help. We can explain all your rights and responsibilities and fight hard for a fair settlement, which is why contacting a wrongful death lawyer at Distasio Law Firm is so important.
Medical Malpractice Cases
Wrongful death from medical malpractice requires a knowledgeable lawyer, Scott Distasio is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, and will do everything possible for your wrongful death case to recover the damages you deserve.
If you lost a loved one to medical malpractice, there may be special circumstances to consider. For example, the laws governing wrongful death lawsuits in malpractice cases may vary in terms of who can file suit and what they can recover.
Distasio Law Firm can help you sort through these laws to preserve your right to compensation.
How Can Distasio Law Firm’s Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
In many wrongful death cases, survivors must battle the liable party’s insurance company to get an appropriate settlement. Insurers hire lawyers to protect themselves from lawsuits like yours. These lawyers may try any number of tactics to avoid paying fair compensation, including:
- Blaming the deceased for the accident: Under Florida Statutes § 768.81(2), the amount of money a person can receive decreases if the accident victim is found to be partly or mostly responsible for the accident.
- Offering a settlement that is too small: Some insurers offer token settlements in the hope that the claimants do not understand the true value of their cases and will be satisfied with far less than is appropriate.
- Refusing to negotiate: Once they make a lowball settlement offer, the insurer may refuse to discuss the matter further. This tactic is meant to make victims believe that they must take the lowball offer or receive nothing at all.
- Denying their client’s responsibility: In some cases, the insurance company may insist that their client was not responsible, thereby also insisting that they have no responsibility to pay damages.
The team at Distasio Law Firm wants to help you avoid these pitfalls by taking charge of your Tampa wrongful death case.
Services Our Firm Provides
We can assign you a lawyer to handle all interactions with and challenges from the insurance company by:
- Collecting evidence: It is important and often necessary to support your lawsuit with documentary evidence. We know where to find such evidence and how to present it to the insurance company—or, if necessary, to a jury.
- Identifying the liable party: Even if you are already sure of the liable party’s identity, let us investigate to confirm your suspicions. In some cases, there may be two wrongdoers who owe you damages; it is important that you know all of the liable parties’ identities so you do not miss out on compensation or let someone get away with causing your loved one’s death.
- Calculating your case’s worth: This is vital to ensuring that you get fair compensation, and the insurance company cannot cheat you. Our team can review your case and let you know how much money you should request.
- Meeting with the insurance company: We can schedule negotiations with the insurance company’s representatives and fight aggressively to make them pay what you need.
- Handling forms and paperwork: Whenever you need to file a form, we can fill it out and submit it for you. We would also be happy to prepare the settlement agreement after successful negotiations with the insurer.
- Representing you in court: There are, unfortunately, some cases that cannot be settled out of court. If yours is one of them, we can fight just as vigorously in the courtroom to persuade a jury to award you fair compensation.
What Makes Our Firm Different
Finally, we add The Distasio Personal Touch to each case. This means we take extra care to ensure our clients’ comfort by:
- Assessing every case for free: Even before you hire us, we can help you by listening to your story and telling you if your case is viable. We can do this at no obligation during one quick and free phone call at any time, day or night.
- Providing empathetic advice: We know you are under a lot of stress right now. We can help you make important legal decisions, such as whether you should settle or go to court.
- Providing frequent updates: Our team can let you know every time something important happens. We can also explain each event’s implications for you and the future of your case.
- Responding in a timely manner: Clients are encouraged to contact us whenever they have a question or need information. We respond to all such queries promptly.
- Accepting no attorney’s fees up front: We charge attorney’s fees if – and only if – we win compensation for our clients. If we cannot do so, then the client does not have to pay.
Every member of our team is committed to providing you with compassionate, professional legal help. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner we may be able to help you with a wrongful death case. Our firm’s experiences as wrongful death lawyers, along with Scott Distasio being a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, separates our firm from the rest.
How Long After a Wrongful Death Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Wrongful death cases must be brought within a certain amount of time. Otherwise, the lawsuit is not valid, no matter how strong a case you have. The last day you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. In Florida, the wrongful death statute of limitations depends on the type of case you are filing. For example, the relevant statute in your case may be:
- Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d): Most wrongful death cases are controlled by this statute. It states that lawsuits must be brought within two years of the date of death.
- Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(b): Medical malpractice cases fall under this statute. It states that you must bring the lawsuit within two years of when you knew or should have known of the wrongful conduct that caused the death. With few exceptions, you must start the case no more than four years from the date of the event.
- Florida Statutes § 400.0236: Nursing home abuse cases follow the same rules as medical malpractice cases. You have two years from when you knew or should have known about the abuse, and no more than four years overall.
Because of these statutes, it is important that you seek out legal help as soon as you can after a wrongful death. If you wait too long, you may lose the opportunity to hold the liable party accountable and receive much-needed compensation for your loved one’s death.
Defining and Proving Wrongful Death
If a loved one died because of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or criminal conduct, you may have a lot of questions, including:
- Does this qualify as a wrongful death case?
- Can I hold the responsible party accountable for causing the wrongful death?
- Can I make the responsible party pay monetary damages for the suffering they have caused?
- What do I have to do to get appropriate damages from the responsible party?
- How do I find the best wrongful death lawyer to handle my case?
A wrongful death occurs when another party causes someone’s untimely passing. The liable party may be an individual, a corporation, or another type of organization. Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought in many different types of situations, such as:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents and truck accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Medical malpractice and pharmaceutical malpractice
- Premises liability accidents, including slip and fall accidents
No matter where the death occurred, the important thing is to prove that the liable party’s actions, whether intentional or otherwise, were directly responsible for your loved one’s unexpected death. This may involve collecting evidence such as the following:
- Footage from surveillance or security cameras
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Witness testimony
- Expert testimony
Differences Between Wrongful Death Claims and Criminal Charges
Many surviving family members of individuals who have passed away in wrongful death accidents wonder what the differences are between wrongful death claims and criminal charges. After all, you want to be sure that the culpable party is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
To start, criminal charges must be brought forward by the state’s prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney will need to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. If convicted, the defendant will face criminal penalties such as fines, incarceration, and other consequences.
Wrongful death claims are much different. Here, surviving family members may be able to bring forward a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. With help from your wrongful death attorney, liability will need to be proven based on a preponderance of the evidence. If the jury agrees that the defendant is liable for the decedent’s passing, they can order them to compensate you. You would be compensated for the various ways in which the decedent’s life and your family’s lives have been affected by the defendant’s wrongful or negligent actions.
It is important to remember that if no criminal charges are filed in your case, that does not mean you do not have grounds for a civil wrongful death claim. It is also important to remember that if criminal charges are brought forward and the defendant is acquitted, the verdict should not have any bearing on the outcome of your wrongful death claim. Conversely, if the defendant was found guilty in criminal court, this could prove to be valuable evidence to support your wrongful death claim against them.
If you have additional questions regarding criminal charges and wrongful death claims in your case, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer from our firm in Tampa with your concerns.
Tampa Wrongful Death FAQ
We understand that the wrongful death claims process may be overwhelming. To help you better prepare for what’s to come, we have provided the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions surrounding wrongful death claims in Tampa below.
If you have additional questions that were not answered on this page, be sure to contact your attorney to discuss your specific concerns in further detail.
Will My Case Need to Go to Court?
Many wrongful death claims can be settled by obtaining a settlement through the defendant’s insurance company. However, if insurance is not enough to cover the damages you’re entitled to, or the insurance company is unwilling to settle your claim fairly, it may be in your family’s best interest to bring a wrongful death case before a judge.
Should I Accept an Offer from the Insurance Company?
No. You should never accept an offer from the insurance company without first reviewing it with your attorney. Insurance companies are notorious for making lowball settlement offers when they know families are struggling financially.
Usually, this happens when they know your claim is worth far more than they are offering. Have your attorney review any offers made by the insurance company and handle the negotiations process on your behalf to ensure you are not taken advantage of during this difficult time in your life.
Can I Still File a Wrongful Death Claim If There Are Pending Criminal Charges?
Yes, you can still move forward with your wrongful death claim even if the defendant is also facing criminal charges. However, your lawyer’s ability to obtain the evidence needed to support your case could be called into question if it is tied up with the state’s prosecuting attorney. Get a wrongful death lawyer’s advice and support to find out how to proceed if the defendant is facing criminal charges in your case.
A Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney Could Help You Seek Justice
A Tampa wrongful death lawyer at Distasio Law Firm have been helping families hold wrongdoers accountable in wrongful death cases for over 30 years. If you believe your loved one’s death was the result of a wrongful, preventable accident, we would like to help. We understand the emotional trauma that wrongful deaths can cause and want to do everything in our power to ease your burden throughout your lawsuit.
From everyone at Distasio Law Firm, we are truly sorry for your loss. We know that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and we would like to help you in any way we can. To learn more about your legal options through a free case review, call us any time. A compassionate attorney from our firm serving Tampa, Florida can fight on your behalf for accountability and compensation.