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Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney Addresses COVID-19 & Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our state and caused over 44,000 deaths. It has left the families of those that have passed away with feelings of sadness, anger, and frustration. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but losing them unexpectedly to a senseless virus causes many to question whether or not there is legal recourse available to them for the wrongful death of their family member. A Tampa wrongful death attorney can help.
Wrongful Death Explained
Florida has enacted the Florida Wrongful Death Act which specifies who is able to sue for wrongful death in this state as well as the elements that are necessary to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit. A Tampa wrongful death attorney can explain in detail how this act applies to a particular case, but a general overview of the statute provides:
- A wrongful death suit must be filed by the Personal Representative of the estate
- Negligence or Recklessness are necessary elements of a successful claim for wrongful death
- A wrongful death suit must be filed within two years from the decedent’s date of death
Special COVID-19 Provisions
On March 29, 2021, the governor of the state of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a new statute into Florida law. Florida Statute 768.38 provides liability protections to businesses, educational institutions, governmental entities, and religious institutions from COVID-19 related lawsuits, including suits for wrongful death. The statute increases the burden on any plaintiff that brings a suit for wrongful death due to COVID-19. Included in the statute are the following provisions:
- Heightened Complaint Requirements: Any complaint filed must be pleaded with “particularity,” and must include an affidavit signed by an actively licensed Florida physician. The affidavit must state that the plaintiff’s COVID-19 related death occurred as a result of the defendant’s acts or omissions and the physician is required to believe this “within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.”
- Good Faith Burden: The plaintiff is required to show that the defendant did not make a good faith effort “to substantially comply with authoritative or controlling government-issued health standards or guidance at the time the cause of action accrued.” In other words, gross negligence, rather than ordinary negligence, must be proven by the plaintiff.
- Statute of Limitations: A plaintiff has one year from the time the cause of action accrued or one year from the effective date of the statute (if the cause of action accrued before the effective date of the statute) to file a cause of action for a COVID-19 wrongful death claim.
Choose a Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney You Can Depend On
Losing a loved one under preventable circumstances adds an extra level of anger and frustration to your grief. In some situations, you may be able to recover compensation for your loss. A Tampa wrongful death lawyer at our firm, Alley, Clark & Greiwe, can help you review the cause of your loved one’s death and decide if filing a lawsuit is appropriate. Contact us via our contact page or by calling 1-800-840-0977.