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Florida Inheritances and Wrongful Death Actions

Uncategorized Aug 6, 2019
post about Florida Inheritances and Wrongful Death Actions

What do wrongful death cases have to do with West Palm Beach probate lawsuits? Are you involved in a Florida probate matter that involves a wrongful death action? What are the elements of damages in wrongful death cases in Florida? What should your estate lawyer know about wrongful death lawsuits in Florida? 

Florida Probate Lawyers and Personal Injury Lawyers

West Palm Beach estate lawyers know that, before they bring a wrongful death action, there must be an open estate with a serving personal representative. Therefore, an estate must be opened prior to serving the other side with a wrongful death lawsuit.

Frequently, your Florida personal injury lawyer will hire an estate lawyer or instruct you to hire one. You are even more likely to need an estate lawyer if a complicated probate proceeding emerges. For example, if there are issues with appointing a personal representative, an experienced probate litigator should be consulted. Furthermore, a probate litigator may prove necessary if other family disputes arise in the estate while the wrongful death action is pending.

Wrongful death cases can also prove to be valuable and relevant sources of information for a probate attorney, or for someone involved in probate litigation. Sometimes, probate cases involve wrongful death actions. However,even if your probate matter does not involve a wrongful death action, you may want to read some wrongful death cases because Florida probate litigators and Florida person injury lawyers encounter similar legal issues.

Philip Morris USA Inc & R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Stanley Martin & Estate of Carole Martin

A recent Fourth DCA opinion, Philip Morris USA Inc & R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Stanley Martin & Estate of Carole Martin, is a good example of wrongful death action that discusses legal issues frequently encountered by probate attorneys. Here, the defendants argue that the trial court erred by refusing to apply the post-1999 version of section 768.73. The defendant’s argument is that the post-1999 version of the statute applies because plaintiff’s cause of action arose after 1999. The opinion states that “in civil cases, the applicable version of a statute is ordinarily the one in effect when,the cause of action arose.”  In wrongful death actions like this one, the cause of action accrues on the date of the decedent’s death. When does the cause of action accrue in a Florida probate case? To read the entire opinion, click here.

Panzera v. Oneal

This case is another great example of a wrongful death lawsuit involving a legal issue that estate attorneys deal with regularly. Here, a man was struck by a tractor trailer and passed away. The man’s family sued the driver of the tractor trailer and the supermarket chain that owned the vehicle. The family had lost on summary judgment after the other side said that there were no material facts in dispute.  

This is an important factor to keep in mind when involved in probate litigation- a plan of attack must be planned so that you avoid summary judgment. You are going to want to prove there are some facts for the jury to deliberate on. Probate lawyers know that this not always easy. Check out the entire case by clicking here.