You already know it’s a dangerous world. In 2016, more than 10,000 of us here in the U.S. died in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in our nation. Hundreds of defective consumer items are recalled every year.

Anyone could be unexpectedly and seriously injured. In the worst-case scenario, you or someone you love could die a wrongful death caused by another party’s negligence.

Exactly what is the definition of a “wrongful” death? If you should die unexpectedly because another person was negligent, can your family be compensated? What rights will your loved ones have?

WHERE CAN A WRONGFUL DEATH HAPPEN?

Wrongful deaths can happen almost anywhere. These fatalities happen in traffic accidents, on-the-job accidents, and swimming pool accidents. You could be struck by falling merchandise in a store. You could accidentally be given the wrong prescription at the pharmacy.

A wrongful death attorney can scrutinize the factors that led to your loved one’s death and provide you with sound legal advice regarding your family’s wisest course of action after such a tragedy.

WHO CAN FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM IN FLORIDA?

Who has the legal standing to file a wrongful death claim? You must be an immediate family member of the decedent to file a wrongful death claim in the state of Florida.

If you choose to take legal action, your attorney will investigate the death and the accident that caused it, identify the negligent party or parties, and protect your family’s rights at every stage of the legal process.

A wrongful death lawyer will negotiate and advocate vigorously on your family’s behalf for the justice that you need and for the compensation that your family needs and deserves.

HOW ARE WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS USUALLY RESOLVED?

Here in Florida, wrongful death claims are typically settled outside of the courtroom when the attorneys meet and negotiate privately. A qualified wrongful death attorney will negotiate forthrightly and diligently for your family’s compensation.

Of course, if no acceptable settlement offer is made during those negotiations, your wrongful death lawyer will take your case to trial and fight aggressively for your family – if that’s what is required to win.

Cash alone cannot, of course, assuage the grief of losing someone you love. Sorrow and heartache may be devastating after you’ve lost a family member you love, but your family’s future after a wrongful death is a necessary and genuine consideration.

HOW CAN A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER HELP YOUR FAMILY?

If there is a chance that your family will face a financial hardship after the sudden loss of a family member, you must speak – as soon as you can – to an attorney who has substantial experience representing families in wrongful death cases.

Even though it will be a difficult time for you and your family, you must speak as quickly as possible to a wrongful death lawyer to discuss your family’s rights and legal recourse.

In the state of Florida, the surviving immediate family members of a wrongful death victim are entitled by law to complete compensation for their expenses and losses arising from the wrongful death along with compensation for their own personal pain and suffering.

Families who have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence or carelessness have every legal right to file and pursue a wrongful death claim with a lawyer’s help. The laws in states like California are different, so a Santa Maria personal injury attorney may be able to help.

But how do you win? What do you have to prove in order for your family’s wrongful death claim to prevail?

WHAT ARE THE “ELEMENTS” OR PARTS OF A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?

A wrongful death case is very much like a personal injury case. The plaintiffs – in a wrongful death case, the family bringing the claim – must prove the same four “elements” of their claim that plaintiffs must prove in personal injury cases:

1. The defendant (the party allegedly liable for the wrongful death) had a duty or obligation of care to the decedent.

2. That duty was breached by the defendant’s negligent action or inaction.

3. The defendant’s action or inaction was a direct cause of the wrongful death.

4. The amount of the family’s losses is monetarily quantifiable, and the defendant should compensate the family for that sum.

To be found liable for negligence, the defendant must have owed the decedent a duty of care.

HOW IS A “DUTY OF CARE” DEFINED?

While the exact definition and level of that care will depend on the details in the case, it is basically a duty to act to keep someone safe and to refrain from any negligence that would cause harm.

When we are driving, for example, we owe others on the road a duty of care to operate the vehicle in a reasonably safe and prudent manner.

If the defendant, in fact, had a duty of care toward the decedent, the plaintiffs then must show how the defendant breached that duty of care.

Plaintiffs then must show that the breach of duty actually caused the decedent’s wrongful death. Finally, plaintiffs must ask for a specific compensation figure and prove that the figure is a fair and reasonable amount. The laws are different in states like Colorado, so it is best to speak with a Colorado Springs personal injury attorney.

WHAT DAMAGES CAN YOUR FAMILY RECEIVE?

Along with your family’s compensation, courts in Florida may also order the payment of punitive damages intended to punish the defendant and deter the same negligent behavior in the future.

If you accidentally lose a child, parent, or spouse, it can be difficult to focus on anything but grief. Nevertheless, you must reach out promptly to an experienced Miami wrongful death lawyer who will explain your family’s rights and how the law applies in your own wrongful death case.

Danger lurks almost everywhere in our time. Your cell phone or cigarette lighter could explode for no apparent reason and without warning. Just going out to dinner could put you in a fatal traffic crash or put you at risk for food poisoning or medical malpractice.

If you have lost a loved one to a wrongful death, you’ll be handling legal, emotional, and financial matters at the same time that you are grieving and healing. A wrongful death attorney can help your family receive the compensation that you may need and the justice you deserve.