Wrongful Death

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WRONGFUL DEATH

Wrongful Death cases are governed by statutes in each State. Each State is different in its treatment of these cases. It is important for your lawyer to have experience in the differences between these laws as well as the particular law that governs your claim. It is also important to know how the jurisdiction’s Estate or Probate laws affect the claim.

America inherited England’s common law, where death was not ordinarily compensated. The King’s Rule in England encouraged his carriages to run over any pedestrian twice if unluckily struck along a busy thoroughfare. The King’s driver would have to back over the unlucky traveler to make sure they were deceased, ensuring that nobody could apply to the Crown for compensation since the victim was dead rather than simply injured. To correct this fundamental unfairness, individual American States passed statutes to compensate people, families and Estates for deaths caused by the negligent conduct of others.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act governs the civil damages available for death caused by another’s conduct. The Act specifies who qualifies to recover compensatory damages and details the type and measure of damages.

In Georgia, the law books recognize death claims under a series of rules known colloquially as ‘Lord Campbell’s Act”. It compensates for the value of the life of the deceased. The technical elements of proof may be described differently from Florida – but the method of proving a wrongful death case is similar.

Our job is to paint a full picture of the value of the decedent’s life and the impact left on those who survive them.

Familiarity and experience in handling all types of wrongful death claims is essential when choosing your lawyer. A wrongful death claim may arise out of medical malpractice, product defect, accident or any other type of tort that causes death. There is no substitute for hundreds of hours spent by a trial lawyer in front of real life juries convincing them of the meaningful harm done in wrongful death cases. Intimate awareness of the type of expert and other evidence that persuades is essential. Also, your lawyer must have intimate understanding of financial issues ranging from dependence to net accumulations.

It is also important that your lawyer be familiar with laws of probate, estates, intestacy, guardianship and the qualifications to serve as personal representative. Finally, your lawyer should have extensive experience in damages to be awarded to the Estate, the survivors and the differences in how Courts expect those damages to be handled.

This Firm has extensive experience handling wrongful death claims of all types and is responsible for new developments in Florida law on wrongful death. In the case of The Estate of Mildred Thomas v. Lee Memorial Health Systems, successfully argued by William deForest Thompson, Jr., Florida’s Second District Court of Appeals broke new ground Florida centering on a family’s graveside trauma.

Relevant Cases