Passionately Representing Families Who Have Lost a Loved One Due to Negligence in Florida
If you have lost a loved one in any type of accident, please contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., immediately. Our Fort Myers wrongful death attorney, Randall L.Spivey, has spent years representing numerous families who have lost a family member as a result of another person's negligent actions and has obtained substantial wrongful death settlements in Florida.
We understand that your losses are extremely personal to you, and we know all too well that the death of someone you care about is nothing short of devastating. We can help you seek the justice and compensation that you and your family deserve.
Our Fort Myers Wrongful Death Attorney Fights for Family Members Seeking Justice
Did you know that Florida's Wrongful Death Act provides specific considerations for families who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to negligence? This includes the ability for surviving family members to make a legal claim for monetary damages in Florida wrongful death cases for mental pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of support and services, and loss of contributions to the household.
We take your case personally. Fort Myers wrongful death attorney Randall L. Spivey takes the time to speak with you about every aspect of your loss, including all of the activities that you and your loved one enjoyed. Our firm extracts a thorough picture of the relationship between you and your loved one, through photographs, videos and DVDs which depict your happy lives together. It is only through a complete understanding of your relationship and daily activities with your loved one that we can truly appreciate the magnitude of your loss. A true understanding of your situation will allow us to better represent your needs and illustrate to the responsible party just what an incredible loss you and your family have suffered.
What Types of Accidents Can Lead to a Wrongful Death?
Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., represents surviving family members of victims who have lost their lives in all types of accidents. There are a wide variety of incidents that can lead to fatal injuries, including:
- Car accidents
- ATV accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Boating accidents
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Nursing home neglect
- Defective products
We have years of experience in handling all of these types of cases, and more. Therefore, whatever the reason was behind your loved one’s death, chances are that we have handled a similar case in the past. It is this very experience that can be invaluable when suing for wrongful death in Florida.
“One of many wrongful death lawsuits handled by our firm was that of a mother who lost her son in a motorcycle accident when a driver was fleeing from police and crashed into his motorcycle in Sarasota. Another wrongful death accident case was that of a husband who lost his wife in a motorcycle accident when a landscaping truck made an improper u-turn into her path in Venice. These, and others, are devastating cases leaving survivors with a lifetime of sorrow and potential financial loss,” said Fort Myers Wrongful Death Attorney, Randall Spivey of Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.
Damages Your Fort Myers Wrongful Death Attorney Will Seek for You
Wrongful death claims involve a wide variety of damage claims, and these claims depend on both your status as a plaintiff and the particular circumstances and character of your relationship with the deceased. For example, the personal estate of the deceased cannot assert a claim for pain and suffering damages, but Florida law allows surviving family members to assert a pain and suffering claim in a wrongful death context, so long as the facts support such an assertion.
Who Can Receive the Damages from a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Florida law entitles certain survivors to recover on a wrongful death claim. These survivors include:
- The spouse, children, and parents of the deceased.
- Biological relatives of the deceased, who depended (at least partially) on the deceased for support.
- Adopted siblings of the deceased, who depended (at least partially) on the deceased for support.
- A child born out of wedlock (though if the deceased was the father, then only if the father was also responsible for support).
If you qualify as a survivor pursuant to one of the prior categories, then you may be able to recover on a wrongful death claim — but what damages can you potentially recover? The following is a non-exhaustive list.
Loss of Support and Services
Under the Wrongful Death Act, the law defines support as property and monetary contributions to the survivor, while it defines services as duties or tasks that the deceased would have performed had they been alive, but are now an expense. For example, if the deceased was a homemaker by occupation, then the surviving spouse might successfully argue that they have to cover the loss of such services with a paid worker.
Loss of Companionship
Damages for lost companionship are uncertain and difficult to predict, as there is no objective, structured way to tangibly calculate the damages that follow from the loss of a close companion. A strong loss of companionship claim will therefore involve the creation of an evidentiary narrative that convinces the jury that your relationship with the deceased was close, and that the loss is therefore deserving of significant damages to compensate.
Pain and Suffering
As a surviving family member, you may be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering (emotional/mental) that you sustain due to the wrongful death at-issue. There is no statutory formula for such damages, so your recovery in a pain and suffering claim will — like that of a loss of companionship claim — depend a great deal on the strength of your evidentiary narrative. Particularly tragic accidents (i.e., drawn out, emotionally difficult deaths) may lead to more substantial damage recovery in the pain and suffering context.
Death and Illness-Related Expenses
If you have paid for any of the medical or funeral expenses of the deceased, then you may be entitled to recover such expenditures as part of your wrongful death claim. Critically, however, you must still qualify as a surviving family member under the Wrongful Death Act — if you qualify as a surviving family member, then you may recover damages for the medical and funeral expenses that you covered for the deceased.
Can My Wrongful Death Lawyer Fight for Punitive Damages in Florida?
As a rule, most wrongful death lawsuits in Florida don't yield punitive damages as the conduct at issue is not considered severe enough to justify such an award. In some cases, however, the circumstances are such that punitive damages may be available, so long as your wrongful death attorney makes a reasoned, well-supported argument that the court should award punitive damages. Typically, it would need to be shown that the defendant acted intentionally or with gross negligence.
To convince a Florida court that an award of punitive damages is justified, however, your Fort Myers wrongful death lawyer will have to prove that the defendant was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Gross negligence can be difficult to understand, but Section 768.72 of the Florida Statutes elegantly defines the term. Pursuant to the statute, gross negligence is defined as conduct that is so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of others.
Whether conduct is sufficiently reckless or wanting in care to justify punitive damages will depend on the circumstances of the case. The more egregious the defendant’s conduct, the more likely it is that the court will award punitive damages.
Survival Claims vs. Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death damages are not the same as survival damages.
The damages in a survival claim (for the pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and various other losses sustained by the decedent’s estate) are recoverable only by the estate of the deceased. They are essentially damages meant to compensate the deceased — through their estate — for the injuries they personally sustained.
The damages in a wrongful death claim, by contrast, are recoverable by surviving family members of the deceased. They are essentially damages meant to compensate the surviving family member for the injuries and losses sustained as a result of the death itself. For example, the child of the deceased might be able to assert (as part of their wrongful death claim) damages that include the lost financial support of the deceased parent.
Wrongful Death FAQs
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a legal claim brought by the survivors and the estate of a deceased person on behalf of the survivors seeking damages for a third party's wrongful act, negligence, and accidents that caused the death of the deceased person. If you believe you have a claim, our Fort Myers wrongful death lawyer can discuss your specific situation and advise you accordingly as you work through this difficult time.
Who Can Bring a Claim for Wrongful Death?
In Florida, wrongful death claims can be brought by the survivors and personal representative of the deceased person's estate. The deceased person's will or estate plan may name a personal representative, or, if no such document exists, the personal representative will be appointed by the court. Only specific surviving family members may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case, including spouses, children, parents, or blood relatives, or adoptive siblings who are in any way dependent on the decedent for support.
What Must I Prove to Succeed in a Wrongful Death Action?
In Florida, to bring a successful wrongful death claim, you must show:
- Your loved one has died,
- The death was caused by an accident, wrongful act, or negligence of some other person or entity, and
- The event would have entitled your loved one to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not occurred.
The stronger your case is, the more likely it is to reach a favorable settlement and avoid going to court. However, unless you have a Fort Myers wrongful death attorney from Spivey Law Firm negotiating on your behalf, the opposing party may not take you seriously and likely will not be afraid to go to court.
What Type of Damages are Recoverable in Wrongful Death Actions?
Survivors may recover the following:
- The value of lost support and services from the date of the deceased person's injury up to their death (with interest), as well as future loss of support and services from the date of death (reduced to present value)
- The surviving spouse may recover for loss of the decedent's companionship and protection, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury
- Minor children under the age of 25 of the decedent (and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse) may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as mental pain and suffering from the date of injury
- Parents of a deceased minor child under the age of 25 may recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury
- Parents of a child under the age of 25 may recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors
- Medical and/or funeral expenses due to the decedent's injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them
- In some cases, the loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death and the loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate, which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death
Contact a Fort Myers Wrongful Death Attorney at Spivey Law Firm For Help
A Fort Myers wrongful death attorney at Spivey Law Firm can help answer any questions and handle all of your legal needs with care and compassion during this difficult time. Contact Attorney Randall Spivey at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. online or by phone at 888-477-4839. We're here to help.
More Helpful Information
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act provides specific consideration for families who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another.
A Fort Myers wrongful death attorney says that a wrongful death occurs when a person dies in an accident because of another’s negligence. There are a wide variety of wrongful death accidents that can lead to fatal injuries.
Fort Myers Wrongful Death Attorney Randall L. Spivey recently won a judgment against a Lee County nursing home for the wrongful death of a loving father in the care of the nursing home.