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.
Commonly, 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.