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Wrongful death lawsuits help families recover after tragedy

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when their death was the result of another person's negligence. Fortunately, grieving families in Fort Lauderdale may be able to pursue wrongful death suits against those responsible for their loved one's death. Wrongful death suits can stem from numerous personal injury situations including car accidents, hospital negligence and exposure to hazardous conditions on-the-job.

In order to file a wrongful death suit, a personal representative must be appointed on behalf of the decedent's estate. The representative can bring a lawsuit on behalf of certain family members (generally spouses, parents and children of the deceased.)

Once a lawsuit is brought, the family must prove that there was a death caused by someone's negligence. The family can establish negligence by showing that the defendants owed a duty to the deceased but breached that duty, and that the breach caused the decedent's death.

In addition to proving death and negligence, the family must establish that the surviving family members suffered some sort of financial injury as a result of the decedent's death. For example, if the deceased was working outside the home at the time of their death, their family will lose out on their financial contributions to the household.

If a wrongful death suit is successful, the family may recover damages from the parties legally responsible for the death. Some examples of damages that may be pursued include funeral expenses, lost wages, loss of parental guidance and other costs. Courts will consider the decedent's age, earning capacity, life expectancy and other factors when determining how much to award the plaintiffs. While nothing will bring back the deceased, financial support can help devastated families as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed on Nov. 1, 2016

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