Motor vehicle collisions, defective products, slip and falls, and many other accidents are a leading cause of injuries in the US, but you might be shocked to learn how often these incidents are fatal. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that almost 214,000 individuals are killed because of unintentional incidents, making accidents the #3 cause of death nationwide. Fortunately, Florida wrongful death laws provide surviving family members with options, so you might qualify to recover compensation for your extensive losses. However, proof is an essential component of any personal injury case. It can be tough to come by when the primary witness died because of someone else’s negligence. In such a claim, you must show that the victim died as a direct result of the at-fault party’s misconduct, along with other legal requirements. Your Miami wrongful death lawyer will take the lead in gathering information, but it is helpful to know the evidence needed to prove such a case.
Proof of Key Elements
The initial element you must establish in a negligence-based case is that the responsible party owed a duty to your loved one. Proof is relatively straightforward, since everyone is legally obligated to act with reasonable care and avoid creating a risk of harm to others. With respect to other elements, note the following details on evidence:
- Duty: You need to show that the at-fault person or entity breached the duty of care through careless, unsafe conduct. Examples of proof may be speeding or drunk driving by a motorist, or a property owner’s refusal to make repairs.
- Causation: It is necessary to prove causation for a wrongful death case, such that the victim would not have been killed but for the responsible party’s negligence. Physical evidence at the scene of the accident is useful for establishing this causal link, such as skidmarks on the roadway or a puddle on the floor.
- Damages: Compensation for wrongful death focuses on the losses of the surviving family members instead of the deceased victim. You will need proof related to:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Lost wages and financial contributions;
- Losses based upon contributions of a personal, subjective nature, including love, guidance, support, and education.
Additional Legal Requirements
Florida law also imposes rules regarding who is entitled to pursue an action for wrongful death, as well as who may receive the proceeds of a lawsuit. Only the personal representative can seek monetary damages, and this will be the person named in a will or appointed by a probate court. The personal representative can file a claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, parents, and other relatives as designated by statute.
Set Up a Free Consultation With a Wrongful Death Attorney in Miami
There may be challenges in getting evidence from the victim, but you can take advantage of many other strategies for proving a Florida wrongful death case. Our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA will advise you on options, so please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.