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2 types of wrongful death claims

Whether your loved one died because of a car crash, defective product or medical malpractice, you have questions you need answered. How will you survive emotionally and financially without that person?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action against a party for causing a death. Florida statute 768.19 defines wrongful death as the death of a person caused by negligence, breach of contract or unlawful act. The law includes deaths occurring on watercraft. The accident would have allowed the injured person to sue for damages if he or she did not die. Following are two types of wrongful death claims.

1. Motor vehicle accident

Insurance companies pay out millions of dollars annually for wrongful death claims. An accident may be due to one driver’s negligence, which may include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Reckless driving

You might receive an award for punitive damages if the driver was grossly negligent or intended to cause the injury or death. The court uses punitive damages to punish the defendant for his or her wrongdoing.

2. Medical malpractice

With medical malpractice, liability could fall on both the hospital and the doctors who fail to provide the level of medical care needed. You may file a wrongful death lawsuit based on:

  • Prescription error
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Surgical mistakes
  • Improper anesthesia

A wrongful death claim can extend to the unborn child during pregnancy.

In Florida, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death. However, a death caused by medical malpractice may have a different statute of limitations depending on the circumstances.