FLORIDA WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS
Losing a loved one can cause unimaginable pain for surviving family members—especially if you suspect a wrongful death. While pursuing legal action may not be at the top of the list of priorities for those who have lost a loved one, it is important for survivors of the decedent to consider their options as soon as possible. In addition to the already significant emotional trauma that comes with losing a loved one, families can also face considerable financial difficulties without the support of the deceased.
Many states, including Florida, have statutes that allow beneficiaries to file a claim and recover damages in the case of a wrongful death. This law is essential to surviving family members who find themselves faced with a financial burden after a death caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another.
In the event of an accident that causes you to lose a loved one, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, one who can help you understand your monetary compensation options and advocate for you. The attorneys at Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, are here to guide you through the process of a wrongful death lawsuit with care and compassion.In the event that an accident is serious enough to cause catastrophic injuries or even death, it is crucial to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the legal process. An experienced wrongful death personal injury Lawyer can help you understand your options for monetary compensation.
WHAT CONSTITUTES WRONGFUL DEATH IN FLORIDA?
When the negligence or intentional actions of a person causes the death of another, the surviving immediate family members would be considered beneficiaries eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Florida statute 768.19 states that if a person’s death is caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty, the estate of the deceased may bring such a lawsuit.
There are a number of occurrences that can cause the death of another person. Clients trust us to remove as much of the legal burden off their shoulders as possible, freeing them to grieve for as long as necessary.
Here are some of the most common wrongful death claims we’ve dealt with in the past:
- Medical misdiagnosis
- Medical errors
- Wrong prescription
- Other medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work-related injuries
- Products liability claims
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall fatalities
FATAL CAR ACCIDENTS IN FLORIDA
One of the most common types of wrongful death claims involves fatal automobile accidents. Depending on the severity of the collision and the resulting injuries, an accident can ultimately prove fatal. Wrongful death can result from motorcycle accidents, boat accidents, or truck accidents. It is the job of your personal injury attorney to provide the necessary strength and guidance as you face a challenging and emotional time in your life.
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WHO MAY BRING A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
Not just anyone is able to submit a wrongful death claim. In Florida, the law requires a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death claim. This representative may be
named in the deceased person’s will or estate plan. However, if no individual is named in either, a representative will be appointed by the court.
Despite being filed by a personal representative, a wrongful death claim is made on behalf of the surviving family members and the deceased’s estate. The representative must list every survivor who has an interest in the case. There may be several family members who are able to recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case, including the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents, as well as any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.
In the case of a child born to unmarried parents, the child is entitled to recover damages if their mother dies. However, if the father dies, the child is only able to recover damages if the father formally recognized the child as his own and was obligated to contribute to the support of the child.
HOW TO DETERMINE WHO IS AT FAULT FOR A WRONGFUL DEATH IN FLORIDA?
In the case of a wrongful death, the at-fault party must be proven negligent or wrongful in their actions, and that negligence or act must have been what caused the death. Negligence is particularly difficult to prove, so having a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer on your side will increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome in your case.
If you are unable to prove negligence, then your chances of receiving compensation may decrease. In order to prove negligence, there must be certain elements present:
- The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The breach of care is what caused the accident.
- The death was a result of the accident.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SETTLE A WRONGFUL DEATH ACCIDENT CASE IN FLORIDA?
One of the most commonly asked questions we receive concerns the length of time it will take to settle a wrongful death case. Unfortunately, there is no set timeline for these types of cases, and the amount of time that will pass before a verdict is reached can differ greatly depending on the unique circumstances of each case.
The key to a smooth and quick settlement lies in the hands of your lawyer. What this means is that you’ll want to hire an attorney who possesses an in-depth understanding of the legal landscape when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE WRONGFUL DEATH SETTLEMENT AMOUNT IN MIAMI, FLORIDA?
Because every case is unique, settlements can vary. In a wrongful death suit, there are certain types of damages that can be awarded. The different forms of damages that are allowed to be recovered are set out under Florida statute 768.21. Both surviving family members and the estate are able to recover damages.
Damages available to family members include:
- The value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family members
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering in cases in which a child is lost
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person
Damages available to the deceased’s estate include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived
- Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate, which might reasonably have been expected had the deceased lived
- Medical and funeral expenses directly paid for by the estate
In the state of Florida, there is a limit to the amount of damages claimed that do not have a direct financial impact on beneficiaries, such as loss of companionship. There is a $1 million limit on pain and suffering for cases involving medical malpractice, but for those cases that aren’t due to medical malpractice, the limit increases to $1.5 million.
However, the amount of punitive damages that can be claimed is not capped by the state of Florida. Punitive damages are often ordered by the court in order to discourage parties from continuing the negligent behavior that caused the wrongful death in the first place.
There can be several layers to the types and amount of damages that are awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. This is why it is imperative to speak with a reputable personal injury lawyer in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation available.
Economic damages in a wrongful death claim in Florida can include:
- Medical expenses from the time of injury until death
- Support services from time of injury until death
- Funeral expenses
- Victim’s expected future earnings (from age of death to retirement)
- Work-related medical benefits
- Pension plan
- Any financial impact caused by the victim’s death
WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON A FLORIDA WRONGFUL DEATH CASE
In every state, there exist laws that set a limit on how much time can pass before you are unable to pursue legal action. This is known as the statute of limitations. Often, states have separate statutes that pertain to wrongful death lawsuits. In the state of Florida, according to statute 95.11(4)(d), a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases. However, there are specific circumstances that can extend this deadline. A knowledgeable wrongful death attorney with experience handling these types of cases will be able to help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires for your specific case.
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At Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, we have extensive experience representing clients through even the most complex personal injury cases. When you have lost a loved one due to an accident, it can be an emotionally challenging time in your life. When a family wage-earner is lost, it is necessary to consider the financial impact. A knowledgeable Florida attorney can guide you through the process of a wrongful death lawsuit while you focus on grieving your loss.