An Overview Of Wrongful Deaths In Florida

If a person dies or is killed through no fault of their own and because of the negligence and misconduct of another human being, the surviving family members have the right to file for a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.

Wrongful Death Elements

If a wrongful death lawsuit is to be successful, the following factors must be present:

  • The death of a human being
  • This death must be caused by another human being’s negligence or conscious actions of murder
  • Still living family members must be experiencing financial damages as a result of the death
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the descendant’s estate

The above wrongful death elements are a general guideline, as laws differ from state to state. However, they are a good indicator of whether you have a strong wrongful death claim. The best way to find out if your case is worth pursuing is to schedule a free consultation with our wrongful death attorneys, who are well aware of the relevant laws in South Florida.

Types Of Wrongful Death

A wrongful death claim can be the result of many types of wrongful death. These include car and truck accidents, bicycle or pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, accidents at the workplace and human errors with medication.

While there are many other types, the aforementioned are the most common. There are also some more specific types of wrongful death lawsuits, such as someone dying while playing on a jet ski. At first glance, this may seem like it’s no one’s fault, but the Jet Ski itself might have been poorly constructed. In that case, a defective product wrongful death case can be built.

Keep in mind that wrongful death cases have specific time frames in which they must be filed. Also, every state has its own rules.

However, there is one general rule: a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed no longer than two years after the date of the negligence or misconduct that caused the death. In special cases, this limitation may become as short as 1 year.

Damages In Wrongful Death

The damages in wrongful death cases can span a great deal for all states, and most limit the amount and types of wrongful death damages. This is especially true for medical malpractice wrongful death claims.

Essentially, there are 3 types of damages in wrongful death – economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic damages include the value of the financial contributions the victim would have made to the surviving family members, such as:

  • Funeral and medical expenses related to the death
  • The estimated victim’s earnings (had they not died)
  • Loss of benefits, such as pension plans or medical coverage
  • The loss of inheritance caused by the death
  • The value of the goods and services, which the victim would have provided

Non-economic damages can often have much more value than economic wrongful death damages, because they include: 

  • Reimbursement for the mental pain and suffering of family members of the deceased
  • Loss of care, guidance, protection, advice, training, and nurturing from the deceased
  • Loss of love, relationships, and companionship from the deceased
  • Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse

Punitive damages punish the defendant for extremely bad conduct. Throughout most states these are not available. However, treble damages may often be recovered in some cases, such as those against nursing homes responsible for elder abuse and/or death.

The calculation of the damages themselves can be a very complex process. Opposing parties usually call on expert witnesses, like economists and actuaries, who can give their opinions on the amount of damages.

Their calculations are based on more than the income and benefits earned outside of the home and include the monetary value of home services provided by a parent, such as child care, cooking, shopping, education, etc.

Common Causes Of Wrongful Deaths

Accidents are generally caused by the recklessness of an individual, especially car accidents. Speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are common causes of wrongful death. In instances like these, the reckless driver should handle all the financial responsibilities of the victim and their family.

An unsafe working environment could also cause wrongful death. Any employer who fails to provide a safe work environment must take responsibility for the accidents that behavior causes.

Aside from providing a safe environment for workers, company owners must also ensure a safe place for customers and clients. Slip and falls that happen in supermarkets, grocery stores, and other establishments are another major cause of wrongful death. It is the duty of the owner to maintain a clean and safe area for their customers. Otherwise, he or she will be held liable for any accident that took place on their premises.

If a health care provider causes death to patients due to substandard care, he or she may be liable for it. Mistakes in administering anesthesia, evaluating the condition of the patient, or giving the incorrect dosage of medications are among the fatal medical errors that can cause wrongful death.

Animal attacks may also cause death to adults or children. A pet owner can be held responsible for injuries caused by their dog, or another pet. As a family member of the wrongful death victim, you are entitled to compensation for your financial and emotional losses.

Wrongful Death Cases

If a loved one has died due to negligence of another person, or any other cause, you may require legal representation. To learn more about your rights, call our lawyers today, or send us an email to get a free consultation.

Our law firm works diligently in South Florida for every client we represent. We believe that legal expertise is the best way to ensure a positive outcome and that you recover maximum damages. Wrongful death lawsuits are very complex, so hiring the best wrongful death attorney is of critical importance.

The lawyers at The Fenstersheib Law Group, P.A., have a strong background in dealing with wrongful death cases.

More Information:

Fenstersheib Law Group, P.A. - Hollywood, FL


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