What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when someone is killed or dies because of negligence, intention or misconduct of another person. Being a lawsuit, the guilty party in a wrongful death case may not be convicted. Wrongful death may arise from medical malpractices or a criminal behavior. Alternatively, it may occur due to hazardous conditions within the job environment, death under supervision, or an automobile or plane accident.
In Section 768.19, there are four vital elements that will help you understand a wrongful death better. First is the decedent. Second, the death was caused intentionally or accidentally by another person. Third, the decedent’s family in sufferance. Lastly, the appointed personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Understanding how to claim for a wrongful death in Pensacola, Florida is crucial.
Step 1: Personal Representative
After the decedent is rested, begin your death claim with designating a representative. This is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate and family in the case. He will handle the billing, costs, and the economic impact of the decedent’s death. This is crucial to filing the claim and compensation. Legally, the representative can be the quoted attorney in the decedent’s will or a court-appointed administrator for the decedent’s estate, if the person died in Florida. An adult blood relative can also be the representative.
Step 2: Establish the Survivors
The Florida statute defines out survivors in this case. These include the parents, children, and spouse. For blood relatives, they must have been wholly dependent on the decedent at the time of the death. For the mother, all children born out of wedlock are automatically considered. However, for the father’s side, only those he was responsible for through child support will be considered.
Step 3: Make a Demand against a Defendant
This can either be your step one or three depending on your position currently. If you have requested a monetary statement and the defendant has refused, then this is your step one. Alternatively, in rare cases, making the monetary demand (as step three) can yield an out-of-court settlement. If you do not succeed in the monetary appeal, proceed to the fourth step.
Step 4: Formal Legal Claim
The jurisdiction for a formal complaint rests with the Florida Courts. Your personal injury lawyer will draft a formal complaint stipulating the wrongful nature of the decedent’s death, the sufferance caused, and the compensation you seek. Then the court clerk and defendant will be served to initiate a lawsuit.
Step 5: Discovery
This is a lengthy and emotionally draining process. It begins after serving the complaint to the defendant and going for trial. In between, the defendant and the claimant will request documents, statements, and admissions. This is done to either help in refuting any defenses laid by the defendant or the claimant in supporting their claim.
In the discovery process, witnesses are interviewed with responses made under oath. This will establish the real cause of death. The circumstances leading to and how they caused the decedent’s death will be disclosed. These interviews will aid in quantifying both the pecuniary and financial damages.
A mediation meeting can be initiated in an attempt to get an out-of-court settlement (back to step 3). However, if these talks collapse, proceed to the set trial date by the court clerk. The ruling can either be in your favor or not. If it does not fall in your favor, appeal in the event that crucial evidence was disregarded or the process was flawed.
You can always contact Pensacola Wrongful Death Lawyer, Michael Fenimore for assistance with such cases.