Wrongful death lawsuits are filed frequently when families do not want to accept the loss of a loved one. In their anguish, they lash out at the person they believe is at fault. Unfortunately, not all deaths are wrongful, and there are some circumstances where the blame falls on the victim.
Has the Statute of Limitations Run Out?
In the state of Florida, all personal injury cases, including wrongful death lawsuits must be filed before the second anniversary of the event that caused the injury or death. The statute doesn’t start on the date when all injuries are diagnosed, but it starts on the day the accident or event leading to the fatality occurred.
If any claimant doesn’t file a motion through the court before this deadline, they forfeit all rights to collect compensation. Defendants in a wrongful death claim can learn more about what to do by contacting an attorney now.
Was There More Than One Person At-Fault?
To prove a liability, the claimant must prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions caused the fatality. When there is more than one defendant, the case must show how each person played a role in contributing to the victim’s death.
The evidence must connect each defendant to a specific injury or failure to provide a duty. When there is another defendant, the claimant must prove that, if either party had refrained from performing the action in question, the victim wouldn’t have died.
Connect the Injury to the Death
The medical records and autopsy must show that the injuries sustained in the identified event were the cause of death. The victim cannot die of any condition not related to these injuries for it to be deemed a wrongful death.
If the person had existing cardiovascular disease, they couldn’t have died because of stroke or heart attack unless it is proven the defendant’s actions either triggered the cardiac episode or it was a linked reaction to their injuries. If any victim dies of natural causes that aren’t associated with their injuries, the defendant is not liable for the fatality.
Comparative Negligence in Personal Injury Claims
Comparative negligence indicates that the victim contributed to the cause of their own injuries. In an auto accident case, comparative fault is used when the victim commits a moving violation during the accident. In a product’s liability case, the customer didn’t use the product as directed or ignored warning signs.
In a medical malpractice case, the doctor disclosed all the risks, and the patient chose to undergo the procedure anyway. Each of these factors contributed to the victim’s injuries. If the victim chose to perform an action that contributed to their own death, the defendant isn’t liable or guilty of a wrongful death. If the victim’s actions prove they are more than 50% at fault, the claimant will not get a monetary award in these cases.
Imputed Comparative Negligence
Imputed comparative negligence involves a beneficiary to the victim’s estate. If it is proven this person or a family member was involved in the death of the victim, the defendant is not liable. These actions could include signing a DNR for the victim when she or he didn’t have a living will or signed the document themselves previously. If it is proven that extraordinary measures could have saved the victim’s life, their family could be liable.
Wrongful death means the death of the victim was avoidable and the circumstances of their death were the fault of another person or entity. In proving these cases, the family must show that the defendant’s actions or negligence led to the death.