If your loved one was killed because of another party’s negligent behavior, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. These claims are designed to compensate the surviving spouse or family members of the deceased for their losses.
The Hollywood wrongful death lawyers at Englander Peebles can help you seek compensation for the loss of your loved one. We’ll work with you during this difficult time and will build a strong case on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.
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How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
According to Florida Statute 768.19, a wrongful death occurs when a person is killed because of a wrongful act or negligence from another party. Deaths caused by a breach of contract or warranty are also classified as wrongful deaths.
In a wrongful death claim, it is necessary to demonstrate that another party engaged in conduct that was the direct cause of the death of the decedent. Furthermore, lawyers must show that the decedent would’ve been eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit and seek damages if they had not died as a result of the incident.
Who is Qualified to File A Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Wrongful death claims are filed by a representative of the surviving family members of the deceased. A claim should include all family members that want to be a part of the lawsuit. In Florida, the primary beneficiaries are:
- The spouse of the deceased
- The children of the deceased
- The parents of the deceased
If other family members received financial support from the deceased, they may also be able to file a claim. However, the parties of interest listed above will have the first opportunity to file.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
In a wrongful death case, surviving family members can request to receive compensation for costs that they have incurred as a result of the incident that led to the death of their loved one. This could include:
- Medical bills
- Funeral costs
- Loss of wages
- Loss of benefits
When calculating damages, lawyers will determine what the deceased would have been likely to earn in their lifetime. This can help to minimize the financial impact the death has on the family of the deceased. Minor children are entitled to higher damages than children over the age of 25.
Other damages may be awarded based on the specifics of a case. For example, if a case involves the death of a child, their parents could be awarded damages for emotional suffering. Spouses may be eligible to claim damages for the loss of companionship.
If the decedent contributed to the educational expenses of a surviving family member, that expense could be included in the claim as well. Englander Peebles will help you build a claim that will allow you to collect all of the damages you’re entitled to.
Can Surviving Family File For Punitive Damages?
Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute states that surviving family members may be eligible to collect punitive damages under specific circumstances. Punitive damages – also known as exemplary damages – may be awarded if a case involves intentional malicious conduct or extreme recklessness.
Because exemplary damages are intended to be a punishment, they will only be awarded in cases that involve egregious conduct. While most wrongful death lawsuits in Hollywood, Florida do not include punitive damages, courts may be willing to award you punitive damages if you’re able to make a strong argument for them. Englander Peebles will examine your case to see if you are eligible to file for punitive damages.
How is Negligence Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?
In order to establish negligence in a wrongful death case, you must show that the four pillars of negligence have been met. These pillars are:
The plaintiff must establish that the decedent was owed a “duty of care” by the defendant. This means that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in the best interest of others. As an example, when driving, your duty of care requires you to obey speed limits and follow traffic laws.
The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care. For example, if the defendant ran a red light and struck the car of the decedent, duty of care was breached.
It’s necessary to establish that surviving family members suffered damages due to the death of their loved one. Damages can include medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of wages, and damages for pain and suffering.
As mentioned above, it must be shown that the defendant’s breach of duty directly resulted in the defendant’s death. This can be established with medical records, accident reports, and other supporting documents.
How Do You File A Wrongful Death Claim In Florida?
In order to bring a wrongful death claim, the decedent’s surviving family members will need to select a representative to file the claim on their behalf. The representative will file the claim on the behalf of the deceased’s estate and surviving family members. An attorney from Englander Peebles can serve as your representative.
According to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d), a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. However, there are rare cases in which the time limit can be tolled. If you’re not sure if the statute of limitations on your case has expired, your best option is to schedule a consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Schedule a Free Consultation With A Hollywood Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you’ve lost a loved one because of the actions of another party, the Hollywood, Florida wrongful death lawyers at Englander Peebles are here to help. If you contact us at (954) 231-1384, we can provide you with a free case evaluation. If you do file a wrongful death claim, we’ll fight to secure the maximum compensation for you.
Losing a loved one can be devastating, which is why you need the support of experienced legal professionals during this difficult time. Our experienced and dedicated attorneys will give your case the personal attention that it deserves.