Losing a loved one is one of the hardest experiences anyone can go through. It is all the harder to bear when their death is unexpected. In particular when it is due to the negligence of somebody else. The fact that their death could have easily been avoided adds to the feelings of grief everyone feels when losing a loved one.
When a person dies because of another’s negligence, this is legally categorized as wrongful death. In that situation, it is possible for the loved ones that are left behind to seek justice and receive compensation for the fact that a life has been needlessly taken.
To ensure that the rights and hard work of your loved one are honored, it is wise to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney when filing a wrongful death claim. These cases are complex, so you cannot afford to use an attorney that has not previously dealt with this situation.
Basics of Florida’s Law on Wrongful Deaths
The Florida Wrongful Death Act governs the way all wrongful death claims and cases are handled here. It states that, when somebody dies because of the negligence or misconduct of another, the surviving family members of the victim may sue for wrongful death.
Most wrongful death lawsuits are filed after a criminal trial has taken place. Naturally, these cases take time. So, in Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful deaths is 4 years. But, you should start the process of finding an attorney to represent you as early as you can. This helps to ensure that important evidence is gathered before it disappears or becomes more difficult to access.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case in Florida
There is a criterion that needs to be met before you can file for wrongful death in the state of Florida. If you think you might have grounds to file a wrongful death claim, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will quickly assess your particular situation.
In the meantime, here is an overview of the criterion that is used:
- An individual has died – if they have been seriously injured, even if they are in a coma, or are highly likely to die soon, that would still be categorized as a personal injury claim.
- The cause of death is the negligence of another person or party – this is important, you will need enough evidence to be able to prove that this is what happened.
- There was an intent by the other party to cause harm – this is not essential for every single case. But, if there was intent proving that was the case will strengthen your argument.
- Surviving family members are suffering financially because of the death of the victim – a large percentage of the compensation paid out in a wrongful death case is designed to cover the financial losses of surviving family members.
- A personal representative for the estate of the deceased must be appointed – a case can only be legally bought by that person. If someone who does not have the right status makes a claim, the case could be dismissed.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
In the state of Florida, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death claim, on behalf of the following people:
- Spouses of the deceased
- Blood-related children of the person who was killed
- Legally adopted children
- The parents of the deceased
At the time of writing this, stepchildren cannot claim for pain and suffering using the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Of course, this and some of the other things outlined on this page is subject to change. So, please bear this in mind and always contact us to double-check whether you have a valid case or not.
Circumstances That Lead to a Wrongful Death in Florida
People can be killed because of the negligent actions of others in many different circumstances, including the following :
- Car accidents
- Airplane accidents
- Exposure to dangerous conditions or substances during work activities
- Criminal acts
- Deaths that occur during supervised activities
Find out what damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim. Talk to Thomas C. Grajek today to know more.
Damages That Survivors Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
In Florida, a wrongful death claim is usually made up of several elements.
When someone dies, family members are suddenly left without the contribution that person made to their lives. Their dead loved one is no longer able to provide:
- Financial support
- Physical and practical support
- Emotional support
This situation is permanent. That support is lost forever to family members. Something that the court takes into consideration.
Each family member will be affected in a different way depending on whether they were financially dependent on the deceased. If they lived with them or were dependent on them in another way.
In most cases, spouses and children would benefit greatly from and be highly dependent on the wages of the person who has died. The deceased parents may have also benefited from receiving financial help and physical support in their old age. So, both sets of losses are also considered and factored into the court’s decision. A wrongful death claim can include compensation for:
- The loss of future or potential earnings
- The replacement value of lost support and services
- Loss of companionship and protection for the surviving spouse
- Compensation for pain and suffering for all close family members, including the deceased person´s parents
- The loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance for minor kids
- Medical costs
- Funeral costs
These damages are available to the estate:
- Loss of income of the decedent from the start of injury until the time of death. Not counting lost support of surviving members excluding contributions in kind, plus interest
- Loss of the potential net accumulations of an estate, which is an amount that reflects what the deceased was likely to have accrued in the future, for example, interest on savings
- Medical costs paid by or on behalf of the deceased
- Funeral costs paid by or on behalf of the deceased
All of the above factors are looked at and considered for every case. Anything that does not apply in your particular situation is discounted. This enables the court to quantify how much you should be paid for each negative impact the loss of your loved one has had on each family member.
Call Thomas C. Grajek Now to Consult About Wrongful Deaths in Florida
Thomas C. Grajek handles personal injury claims in the state of Florida, as well as wrongful death cases. For more than 25 years he has successfully protected, supported, and represented people who have been hurt and their family members. You can find out more about the work of this experienced law firm by clicking here.
If you would like to get in touch and discuss a potential wrongful death claim, you can:
Contact us through our phone number
Use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation
Go to any of our offices, that are located across Florida
PRO TIP :
“Wrongful death cases are complicated and may take time to resolve, so it’s wise to manage your expectations from the start and always check with your attorney.”
FAQs on Wrongful Death Attorney
Is a wrongful death claim the same as a survival action claim under Florida law?
Under Florida law, wrongful death and survival action claims are not the same. Family members initiate wrongful death cases once their relative has died. They are claiming for the pain, suffering and financial losses they experience. A survival action claim typically starts with someone being injured, filing a compensation claim, then dying before their case has been completed. In that situation, close relatives can pursue that claim and secure payment for the pain and suffering of the person who has died.
In Florida, does the death of a fetus fall under the conditions of a wrongful death claim?
In Florida, the death of a fetus is treated as an injury to the mother. The state´s Wrongful Death Act does not make provision for a wrongful death case to be filed when a fetus dies. Instead, the mother needs to file a personal injury claim.
Can a stepchild recover damages for the wrongful death of a stepparent?
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act does not enable stepchildren to automatically sue for damages when a stepparent is killed due to someone else’s negligence. At least not when it comes to pain and suffering. However, if they have been legally adopted by that parent they can do so.
What is the average settlement for wrongful death cases?
The average wrongful death settlement in Florida is approximately $500,000 or more. Some wrongful death settlements average more than $1 million. A wrongful death case in Florida may go to a state court or a federal court. The laws that apply to your case may impact the amount of your compensation.
What are the different types of wrongful death claims?
Different types of wrongful death claims include car accidents, medical malpractice, accidents at work, defective products, semi-truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, aviation accidents.
What are the grounds for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
In accordance with the statute, a Florida wrongful death cause of action must be based upon the following elements: Conduct that amounts to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty; The conduct upon which the cause of action is based must have caused the death of the decedent; and such conduct must have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.