There is nothing in life that is quite as painful as losing a loved one. Sudden death due to a freak accident is particularly jarring especially if the accident could have been avoided. Losing a loved one at the hands of someone else’s negligence is emotionally and financially devastating to a family.
Each state has different laws pertaining to wrongful death causes of action. When pursuing a wrongful death claim in Florida, it is imperative that families seek the advice of an experienced Miami wrongful death attorney. If you have lost someone due to the negligent actions of another person, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today to have your questions answered and to develop a plan of action to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Who Can Recover for Wrongful Death in Miami?
In most cases, the deceased’s surviving family and estate can recover compensation for wrongful death in Miami. The law typically assumes that a “family” consists of a husband and wife, plus any children they care for. Florida’s wrongful death statute is a bit more expansive and actually allows additional parties to sue for the wrongful death of a loved one.
The statute specifically gives the right to sue for wrongful death to the “spouse, children, parents, and” any other dependents the deceased cared for. This means that siblings, grandparents, cousins, and other relatives the deceased may have provided for can also recover compensation for wrongful death. The term “spouse” is also gender neutral, allowing LGBT spouses to sue for their spouse’s death.
Other parties may have more difficulty suing. Some “families” consist of fiancées and fiancés, cohabitating boyfriends or girlfriends, close friends, or even roommates. Florida’s wrongful death statute does not normally allow these individuals to sue on behalf of a deceased loved one in their own right. However, the law does allow the deceased’s “personal representative,” typically appointed in their will, to sue on behalf of the estate. If you are entitled to an inheritance under a loved one’s will, a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate may recover compensation for you.
In any case, the lawsuit is literally filed in court by the deceased’s personal representative. Talk to a Miami wrongful death attorney for help understanding who this person is and how to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The personal representative may also file suit on behalf of the survivors of the deceased victim. Some survivors may already be named as the beneficiaries of the estate. Florida’s wrongful death statute defines “survivors” as:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s children
- The decedent’s parents; and
- Any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was dependent on the decedent for support or other services.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Action in Miami, FL
In determining the amount of damages to be awarded to the survivors of a deceased victim, a court will consider a number of factors. Some of these factors include:
- The amount of the decedent’s net income available to the survivor
- The relationship between the survivor the decedent
- The life expectancy of all parties
- The replacement value of the decedent’s services
There is one important aspect of wrongful death actions in Miami to note regarding the type of damages the adult children (over the age of 25) can recover. If the decedent has no surviving spouse, adult children can recover damages for lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance. If the decedent does have a surviving spouse, adult children may only recover these types of damages if the claim was centered around medical negligence.
Survivors in a wrongful death suit can receive compensation for a variety of financial and emotional losses. Some of these include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of decedent’s earnings
- Loss of love, care, and companionship
- Present and future financial losses
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Children’s loss of guidance and supervision
Punitive damages may be awarded if a court finds that the defendant’s actions were intentional or particularly outrageous or egregious. The purpose behind the awarding of punitive damages is to “throw the book” at the defendant and make an example out of him or her. This is done in an effort to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. A plaintiff may recover punitive damages in the form of three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Miami
Filing a claim with the courts can be a complicated and confusing process. Typically, lawsuits require paperwork beyond simple forms to submit to the court, and you must file your claim on time and in the proper manner to ensure the court will hear your case. Your attorney can help you file your lawsuit with the court and put forth a strong argument throughout the case.
Fighting the case in court without the skill and experience of a wrongful death attorney can endanger your case and potentially have your claim denied or have the damages reduced. Make sure to take your case to an experienced Miami personal injury and wrongful death lawyer to help maximize your damages and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.
Similar to personal injury suits, in order for a plaintiff to recover damages for a wrongful death based on a theory of negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim, the defendant breached the duty of care, and as a result of the breach, the victim suffered injuries and/or death.
There are many types of accidents that can cause fatalities. Some of the most common accidents causing wrongful death include:
- Birth Injuries
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace injuries
- Truck accidents
- Acts of violence
- Unsafe products
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Actions in Miami, FL
The state’s wrongful death statute states that a victim’s family or family member has a two year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. This means that the victim’s family has two years from the date of the victim’s death to file the claim.
Call a Miami Wrongful Death Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
Coping with the loss of a loved one while also financially recovering can be too much for one person or family to bear. When another person’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness caused a premature death, the victim’s family should be fairly compensated for the losses they have endured. Consulting an experienced and knowledgeable Miami wrongful death attorney is the best option for family members who want to effectively and efficiently pursue a wrongful death cause of action.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, retain the services of a skilled Miami wrongful death attorney. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA handle these cases with compassion and sensitivity as well as tenacity to ensure that a victim’s loved ones receive just compensation for their emotional and financial losses. Call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676 for a free and confidential consultation.