The death of any loved one after an accident can feel wrongful. However, there is a difference between feeling wrong and being wrongful, at least in the legal context.
Every death feels wrong, especially when it is untimely. In order for a death to be considered wrongful in the eyes of the courts, though, there must in place specific elements. These elements include a death, a wrongful act and damages suffered by spouses, children, parents or other eligible survivors.
Breaking down the elements of a wrongful death claim
In order to file a wrongful death claim, you must first prove that someone died. If you cannot prove this, you would need to pursue different legal remedies.
You must also show that the death was the result of someone's negligence, recklessness or other wrongful act. Establishing this element involves thorough investigation to determine who was at fault and what specific action caused the fatality. This can be a challenge, particularly in cases that are highly complex – like medical malpractice – or when the liable party was not actually present during a fatal accident – like with defective products.
Finally, as specified in Florida statutes, a wrongful death must result in damages for which survivors deserve financial recovery. Damages vary widely and typically include economic losses as well as noneconomic losses, such as the emotional distress of having lost a loved one. The law also specifies who is and is not considered a survivor, as well as which parties must bring legal action.
Putting these elements together in a legal claim
If you feel that your case involves each of these elements, then you could very well have grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim.
However, just as there are legal specifics with regard to defining wrongful death, there are also legal technicalities with regard to building a successful claim for compensation. As such, anyone considering filing a wrongful death claim should consider consulting an attorney experienced in such cases.