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The Complexities of Wrongful Death Cases

According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act one can file a lawsuit against the responsible person when any death is caused by any "wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty." Thus, this definition of wrongful death includes intentional acts, negligent acts and breach of contract and warranty (i.e., product defects). Although per this definition, understanding who may recover what in a Florida wrongful death action may seem straight forward, it is far from simple in application. There are numerous cases that offer different interpretations on what qualifies as a wrongful death, who can sue and who is entitled to what.

Besides the more limitations on a surviving child’s, parent or spouse’s right to sue as discussed in other articles, the Florida Wrongful Death Act is full of other complicating factors and special rules on who may recover in a wrongful death lawsuit. These complexities include such issues as common law marriages, intent to divorce, remarriage, intention to remarry, adopted children, children born out of wedlock, biological fathers versus stepfathers, stepchildren, posthumous children (meaning child unborn at the time of the parent’s death), illegitimate children, stillborn children, divorced parents and financial dependency.

These complexities are far too many to cover in detail here, which is why it is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced Florida Wrongful Death attorney. Trying to decide which of these many rules apply to your case and how they affect your right to recovery yourself will be frustrating and, if not done correctly and within a specific timeframe, could limit – if not bar – your right to sue. As if these rules are not complicated enough, but they are also regularly updated and amended – both by statute and case law. Keeping up with these changes and understanding how they can influence your case is next to impossible for someone lacking the necessary legal resources.

To ensure your rights are protected and for more information on actions under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A., at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.

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    We interviewed 3 different lawyers before we chose Mr. Cunningham. We are glad we did. I felt besides helping us with the needed funeral expenses for my father, he was honest, upfront, and of the highest ethics.

    - Jay, a Wrongful Death client

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