Wrongful death cases are the most traumatic cases for the family of the decedent. Usually the survivors are interested in finding out who is responsible for the death of their loved one and what actions, if any, can be taken to prevent a similar accident from occurring in the future. Wrongful death cases are the type of cases that require a tremendous amount of time on the part of the lawyer, and survivors should select a lawyer who has experience in this area.
Under Florida law, wrongful death cause of action is controlled by Florida Statute 768.18. That statute determines the statutory survivors and what damages those survivors can obtain. If the decedent is a child, the parents bring a claim for their pain and suffering as a result of the loss of the child. If the decedent is an adult, the following may bring a claim depending on the identity of survivors: minor children (under twenty-five years old), adult children (if the decedent had no surviving spouse, the spouse of the decedent, and the parent of the decedent (if there are no other survivors).
It cannot be emphasized enough that the investigation into the cause of death is the most critical aspect of properly prosecuting a wrongful death case. The attorney representing the personal representative of the estate of the decedent and the survivors must aggressively investigate the case by interviewing each and every witness, law enforcement officer, and the medical examiner, in addition to forming a complete scene investigation.
Often lawyers will join forces with other lawyers to improve the quality of the prosecution of a wrongful death case.