Do you ever think about what constitutes “wrongful death”? The term is thrown around constantly on TV shows, movies, and the nightly news, but what exactly does it mean? A wrongful death refers to someone who dies because of the negligence or carelessness of another person. As the description implies, there are a countless multitude of situations this could be applied to from car accidents to workplace malfeasance. In this blog, we will cover the five most common reasons for wrongful death and how they relate to the Florida statute.
Getting seriously injured at work is not an uncommon thing, particularly if you work in a highly physical job like construction or in a factory. Wrongful death would occur if another employee or supervisor put their co-worker in a highly compromised or unsafe situation. For example, if a factory worker is forced to work multiple 16 hour shifts in a row and gets in a fatal car accident on their way home, that would be considered wrongful death.
Everyone has heard a horror story about how a medical professional got something wrong during a surgery or misdiagnosed and the patient ended up dying because of the mistake. It happens thousands of times a year in the United States alone. While almost all doctors and nurses are highly trained and skilled people, they’re still prone to human mistakes. An example of medical malpractice would be if a woman was kept in labor too long and died as a result of a postponed c-section, that would qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Defective products account for a huge slice of wrongful death lawsuits. If you buy something from a store or online and it has inadequate safety warnings, or just defective components that cause you or someone else death, this would constitute a lawsuit. Manufacturers are responsible for testing for safety and efficacy of their products before making them available to the public. When this doesn’t happen, companies are held liable for the defective food, product, or pharmaceutical.
Whether it’s from semi-trucks or just your run-of-the-mill car crash between motorists, car accidents account for the largest number of wrongful death lawsuits in the country. Any time a person dies in an accident between two separate vehicles it’s almost always because one of the drivers was negligent or reckless. This would include drunk driving, speeding, driving while high, or just not paying attention to the road. If a motorist dies in an accident because of an issue with the road or other infrastructure, the city or county can sometimes be held liable in a court of law.
Florida has a very specific statute on what constitutes damages and how these damages are rewarded in the event of a wrongful death. Each survivor, spouse, and child of the victim will be compensated for the loss of value of the deceased. For example, net worth of the person that died will be calculated and awarded to the survivors for a time designated by the court. The survivors may also be entitled to health care and mental health services in the wake of the death. Not to mention all of the funeral expenses incurred will likely be covered in the event of a successful lawsuit.
Wrongful death occurs every day in the United States and is by definition preventable. If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of the negligent actions of another, a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit may be in order.