Losing a loved one is never easy, but when their death occurs due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, the pain and confusion can be overwhelming. If you find yourself in this devastating situation, a Miami wrongful death lawyer at Klotzman Law Firm can help you with your case.
This blog explores the intricacies of Florida wrongful death lawsuits, offering valuable information to navigate this challenging time.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Florida?
Florida Statute 768.19 defines wrongful death as a death caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another. This encompasses a wide range of scenarios, including:
- Car accidents: Drunk driving, speeding, failing to yield, and other negligent driving behaviors that result in fatal crashes.
- Medical malpractice: Errors in diagnosis, treatment, or surgical procedures that lead to a patient’s death.
- Nursing home neglect: Failure to provide proper care to elderly residents, leading to illness, injuries, and fatalities.
- Defective products: Manufacturing flaws or design defects in products that cause fatal accidents.
- Premises liability: Negligent property maintenance or security lapses that result in deadly accidents on someone else’s property.
Who Can File a Miami Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. This is typically the person named in the will as the executor. If there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative.
Once appointed, this individual acts on behalf of all eligible beneficiaries, including:
- Surviving spouse and children: They have the highest priority to file.
- Parents of the deceased: If there is no spouse or children, the parents may file.
- Adult children: If there is no spouse, children become eligible, regardless of their dependency on the deceased.
- Other dependents: In some cases, dependent siblings or grandparents may also qualify.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
To successfully pursue a Miami wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove the following elements.
- Duty of care: The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care to act with reasonable caution.
- Breach of duty: The defendant breached that duty by acting negligently or wrongfully.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the deceased’s death.
- Damages: The surviving family members suffered quantifiable damages as a result of the death, such as lost income, medical expenses, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.
Building a Strong Case
Gathering evidence is crucial to building a strong wrongful death case. This may include:
- Police reports and accident scene photos
- Medical records and autopsy reports
- Witness statements
- Expert testimony from accident reconstruction specialists, economists, and mental health professionals
- Proof of lost income and benefits
- Evidence of the deceased’s relationship with the surviving family members
Deadline and Other Considerations
There is a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. This means that you must file your claim within two years of the date of the deceased’s death.
- Damage caps: Florida law caps certain types of damages awarded in wrongful death cases. For example, there is a limit on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
- Settlement vs. trial: Most wrongful death cases settle out of court. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, our lawyers are prepared to take your case to trial.
Call Our Miami Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit can be incredibly complex and emotionally taxing. Consulting with an experienced Miami wrongful death attorney is crucial to protecting your rights and maximizing your chances of obtaining compensation.
A qualified attorney can:
- Assess the viability of your case
- Gather evidence and build a strong legal strategy
- Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf
- Represent you in court, if necessary
While no compensation can ever truly replace the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide financial relief and a sense of justice for surviving family members. Our South Florida personal injury lawyers are here to help you during this challenging time.