The unexpected death of a loved one is devastating for surviving family
members, especially if it was the result of an accident or negligence.
Fortunately, the Florida Wrongful Death Act, a state law, ensures that
surviving family members who qualify have a means by which to obtain compensation
for their loss.
The law allows for surviving family members who were dependent financially
or emotionally on the decedent – such as a wife or children –
to file a lawsuit against the person or company responsible for the negligence
that caused the death.
Wrongful Death cases involve automobile accidents, accidents involving motorcycles or semi-trucks,
or pedestrians. They can also include victims of criminal or other actions
who die from their injuries. A death occurring as a result of a botched
medical procedure, or nursing home neglect, may also provide the basis
for a Wrongful Death lawsuit.
In addition to replacing lost future wages, a Wrongful Death lawsuit can
also allow for a grieving family to recover monetary damages for their
pain and suffering. Money certainly cannot replace a loved one. But faced
with the tragic circumstances of losing a husband or wife, compensation
for pain and suffering can help assist the healing process.
Here are some of the most commonly frequently asked questions we receive
about Wrongful Death cases.
Who are we suing in a Wrongful Death case?
It’s a common misconception among the public that personal injury
lawyers “sue people”. That’s not completely accurate.
We bring legal claims to recover monies from any insurance company that
has a current policy with whomever the negligent party is. That is the
standard for all personal injury case types our firm accepts, whether
it be an automobile accident, a slip and fall, or a Wrongful Death. We
try to obtain a recovery from insurance companies, not people.
With a Wrongful Death lawsuit, our job as personal injury lawyers is to
hold the insurance company responsible for paying the Wrongful Death claim.
After all, the negligent person or company paid insurance premiums to
protect them from their possible negligence. It is therefore the insurance
company’s responsibility to pay the claim.
Who can file a Wrongful Death lawsuit?
Florida law dictates who among the surviving family members can file a
Wrongful Death lawsuit. The surviving spouse, as well as any natural or
adopted children, can bring a claim. In cases where there is no surviving
spouse, but there are children, a claim can still be filed. Also, it’s
possible for a claim to be filed by a sibling, in some limited circumstances.
However, it’s important to note that each case is different, and
there may be reasons that preclude an individual from filing a Wrongful
Death claim, even if there is clear negligence involved. It’s best
to consult a personal injury lawyer if you are wondering whether you qualify
to file a potential claim.
How do you determine how much money a Wrongful Death lawsuit is worth?
How much a case is worth is the most common, yet the most difficult, question
to answer. Each individual circumstance of a case needs to be taken into
consideration in order to determine the value of a case.
The value of a case is referred to by lawyers as “damages”. Damages can vary widely, again, depending on the circumstances of the
case, including how “at fault” or negligent the Defendant
was at the time of the accidental death. Every case is different, and
it is impossible to say how much a “typical” wrongful death
case is worth.
We hope that you never suffer the loss of a loved one due to another’s
negligence. But if you do, make sure to consult a qualified attorney with
experience in handling these types of cases.