Ocala Wrongful Death Lawyer
No personal injury case is more serious and heartbreaking than those that deal with a wrongful death. Regardless of the exact facts or circumstances behind the death, if another party is responsible they can be sued in civil court.
An Ocala wrongful death lawyer can help the family of the deceased to pursue the responsible parties for damages. While this compensation can never make a family whole again, it can provide some financial stability for the future. With this in mind, if you have been impacted by the death of a loved one due to the negligence of another person consult with the experienced injury attorneys at our firm to discuss your case.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Not every unexpected death may necessitate or be legally eligible for a lawsuit. Deaths caused by natural causes, accidents where the decedent was at fault, or acts of God are all examples of cases where there is no potential defendant. A simple way to look at the issue is to ask: “Would the decedent still be alive if not for the acts of another?”
A wrongful death can occur from any of the instances that would otherwise result in a personal injury lawsuit. For example, severe car and truck accidents can result in fatal injuries.
The same can be said for a slip and fall case. A plaintiff or their Ocala wrongful death lawyer needs to show that the property owner improperly cared for their land and the resulting injuries resulted in a death.
Regardless of the specific cause, the litigation process would be similar to any other personal injury suit where the plaintiff survived, in that it would be generally based around proving the defendant was negligent through either action or inaction.
Civil Vs. Criminal Cases
Wrongful deaths can also result from intentional acts. In situations where the defendant is also facing criminal charges, a decedent’s family should be aware of a legal doctrine known as res judicata.
Simply put, a court will not allow a defendant to reargue a fact that has been found to be true in another court. For example, a defendant who has already been found guilty of murder in criminal court cannot argue in a related civil trial that they did not commit the violent act.
While a criminal trial and a civil trial can arise out of the same facts, it is important to remember that the cases are considered separately. In order to receive any compensation from the defendant, the civil case must be initiated by the family or their experienced Ocala wrongful death lawyer.
Special Considerations to Remember
One common question regarding wrongful death lawsuits concerns who can bring the lawsuit forward. In all other personal injury cases, the plaintiff must be the injured person. If the would-be plaintiff is deceased, however, this responsibility must fall to someone else.
Florida Statute 768.20, a portion of the State’s Wrongful Death Statute, specifically states that the plaintiff in a wrongful death case must be the decedent’s personal representative. A personal representative is typically named in a will, but may be assigned by a court if the defendant dies “intestate”—without a will.
Florida Statute 95.11 also limits when a wrongful death case can be pursued. This is known as the statute of limitations. The law states that all wrongful death claims must be initiated in court no more than two years from the date of the death. This is an ironclad rule, and many otherwise powerful cases are made impossible to win if this rule is broken.
Allow an Ocala Wrongful Death Attorney to Help Your Family Today
The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things a family can be made to endure. Not only do families need to properly grieve the loss and deal with their immediate personal needs, but they also need to make considerations for the future. An important part of this future may consist of a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
Whether this party is the at-fault driver in an accident, a company whose faulty product caused the death, or a person facing criminal charges, we are here to help. We can assist families during this difficult time to secure their financial future and take steps toward closing out this painful chapter of their lives.
Contact an Ocala wrongful death lawyer today to see what we can do for you.