If you’ve experienced the death of a loved one, you understand the mental and emotional pain that accompanies such a loss. However, if your loved one passed away due to another’s actions, the pain can be amplified. In these cases, you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to understand what wrongful death is, what a lawsuit entails, and what to expect from a Florida wrongful death settlement. When you’re ready to discuss your case with an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney, Wendy Doyle-Palumbo is ready to help you.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
The Florida wrongful death statute dictates that a wrongful death occurs “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of another person.”
In other words, if an individual’s death occurred at the hands of another for any of the above-stated reasons, their death is considered a wrongful death.
For example, many wrongful death actions stem from car accidents caused by another driver’s negligence.
If a loved one has died as a result of another’s action or inaction, you may have a Florida wrongful death case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, surviving family members are entitled to file a wrongful death claim. However, under Florida law, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must be the one to file the wrongful death action on behalf of the estate and the family.
Surviving family members can include:
- Children, and
When filing the wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative will list all potential beneficiaries.
Is There an Average Wrongful Death Settlement in Florida?
While it would be informative to have an average in mind for wrongful death lawsuit settlements in Florida, there is truly no average. No two cases are alike; every case presents its own details and challenges. Wrongful death settlements vary greatly, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
If you wish to discuss your particular situation and get a better understanding of what to expect, you should consult with a wrongful death attorney.
Factors that May Affect the Settlement Value of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
As mentioned, wrongful death lawsuit payouts are highly dependent on the details and circumstances of the particular case. It is nearly impossible to place a monetary value on someone’s life.
Nonetheless, this is a necessary step if the family wishes to negotiate a possible settlement in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit.
To determine the value of the case, certain factors are considered:
- The person’s age at the time they passed away;
- Medical expenses incurred before their death;
- How much money they were making when they passed away;
- Lost future earning potential;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Whether the person had any dependents;
- The person’s pain and suffering before they died; and
- Lost benefits, including health insurance and retirement benefits.
To come up with the fairest and most accurate valuation of a wrongful death case, these and other factors must be taken into consideration. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney can help guide you through this process.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases
Surviving family members may be able to financially recover for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Florida law details damages for wrongful death cases:
- Loss of support and services,
- Mental pain and suffering,
- Loss of parental companionship and guidance,
- Medical expenses, and
- Funeral expenses.
When determining the value of a Florida wrongful death settlement, any other damages incurred will also be factored in.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
Once there is a wrongful death settlement and the personal representative is ready to distribute the earnings, they will need to do so in a way that is fair and equitable. The personal representative will consider all surviving family members and beneficiaries when distributing the settlement funds.
Oftentimes, personal representatives will seek court approval for distributions within the estate in an effort to avoid disputes and legal issues.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in Florida
While you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, it is important to note there is a limited amount of time to do so.
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time an individual has to file a claim. In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the death. Therefore, for example, if your loved one’s death occurred on October 17, 2020, you would have until October 17, 2022, to file a wrongful death action.
In most cases, if you fail to file your lawsuit within the time allotted, you will forfeit your right to financial compensation. Be sure to avoid missing your opportunity to recover compensation for your loved one’s death. Discuss your situation with a qualified wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to begin working on your case.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help Your Case
After the death of a loved one, it is easily understandable that dealing with a lawsuit and hiring a lawyer is often the very last thing on your mind. However, hiring an attorney is crucial if you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims are unique and usually present their own set of challenges. For an inexperienced individual, handling a wrongful death lawsuit can be a particularly daunting task. Wrongful death attorneys are well-versed in this area of law and fully understand the legal process associated with it. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side will give you invaluable peace of mind.
Giving a Florida wrongful death case a monetary value is also a crucial part of the claim. If you are inexperienced in these kinds of claims, you may have no clue whether the case is given a fair valuation and a settlement offer is worthy of your consideration. Without a lawyer, you may end up accepting a low settlement offer simply because you had no way of knowing any better.
Having an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side can help get you a more favorable outcome. In turn, this can give you the time you need to heal and recover while your lawyer does the heavy lifting for you.
Consult with a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Wendy Doyle Palumbo has over 30 years of experience helping clients get the resolution they deserve. At our law firm, you can expect to receive personalized care and attention. While many attorneys will do everything in their power to avoid litigating a case, Wendy believes in going the extra mile for her clients.
Wendy offers the compassion you need during a troubling time, while also providing fierce legal representation. Our firm offers free initial consultations.