How a Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help Ensure Your Recovery for Family Members, or Successfully Defend Against Large Defense Payouts.
Understanding Wrongful Death Civil Lawsuits under Florida Law
Before and long ago the only solace a victim’s family of a fatal car accident was to seek spiritual guidance or counsel of family.
As time passed, so too have laws evolved in Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute Act, allowing personal representatives and surviving spouse alike to bring a claim that the victim would have had a right to do had the victim survived the accident.
To enable claims to be paid, and those that are disputed reach a jury to determine what compensation is owed to the victim’s family, skilled, well-versed Florida wrongful death attorneys practice law in large metropolitan areas such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando knowing the importance the role they play in a family’s quest for justice for the victim.
Spend a moment reading below to find out the elements that must be proven in the State of Florida in an ordinary wrongful death case as well as the common ways for wrongful death cases to be disproven and dismissed.
What are the Elements of Successful Miami Wrongful Death Civil Lawsuit under Florida Law?
In Florida, on Nolo.com, wrongful death cases involve a decedent who, if alive, would be able to bring a civil wrongful death suit against a person, corporation or city or state. Due to the victim’s death, Florida allows the beneficiaries who typically are either blood relatives or minor or adult children and personal representatives to bring suit. Fla. Stat. § 768.19.
According to the blog of Emmanuel, Sheppard and Condon, the legislature permitted these kinds of common wrongful death suits:
- Motor vehicle accidents resulting in death,
- Dangerous roadways or defective vehicles,
- Medical malpractice, and
- Intentional criminal actions. Fla. Stat. § 768.19., referred to as “Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.”
When many wrongful death cases turn on a glaring omission, or maliciousness of an act—it is important for the right Florida wrongful death lawyer to be engaged to handle the task of effectively presenting the matter to a live jury.
Fortunately enough many stages exist throughout the pre-litigation stages of a wrongful death lawsuit allowing constant feedback and strategizing in the presentation of evidence, formation of a compelling narrative through briefs, which are persuasive documents that ask the court to side in a party’s favor.
What are the Time Limits and Procedure for Filing Wrongful Death Claim?
According to Florida law, there is a clear “two-year” time limit that a loved one has in a wrongful death case to bring a claim. Fla. Stat. Section 95.11(4)(d)
Although that is a rule of thumb, there are of course exceptions that a skilled and seasoned wrongful death lawyer would be able to detect and apply in your case.
According to the concept of “tolling”:
- If a claim is filed for wrongful death against an agency, the period of time that the agency is evaluating the claim does not count towards the time for the statute to run. Fla. Stat. Section 768.28
Statutes of limitations exist to ensure that evidence remains “fresh” and in the judgment of the courts and legislature claims are more likely to have merit.
Another reason is not to inconvenience the responsible party by waiting an unreasonably long time to report the injury when it could have done sooner, especially when evidence proof of injury is stronger, such as changes in, for instance, the conditions that previously were considered dangerous that caused the accident, destruction of evidence or faulty recordkeeping. Fla. Stat. Section 768.28
Common Defenses Helpful in Miami, Florida Wrongful Death Claims
According to Florida wrongful death specialist firm Brotman, Nusbaum, Ibrahim & Adelman’s faq page, additional common defenses an at-fault driver can assert to minimize or completely avoid liability for deaths caused by another’s negligence or failure to act:
- Imputed Comparative Negligence
- Comparative Negligence
Commonly Miami motor vehicle accidents can be defended by invoking the notion that the deceased was partially to blame for the accident, has been fully informed of the risk leading to the accident and disregarded it anyways, had previous questionable behavior that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the current claims alleged against the individual defending against the claim, or have signed documentation to relieve the negligent party at some point before or during the claims filing process, although exceptions may apply even if such documentation was signed.
According to Nolo.com, when the wrongful death occurs as a result of a crime, the issue is not whether someone must serve jail time or a sentence, but only how much, if at all, the person has to pay to a surviving spouse bringing the wrongful death claim.
Legal Advice: How Much Financial Support Surviving Family Members Can Expect to Recover for a Wrongful Death Claim?
As in personal injury law, there are nuances in how a victim’s injuries, especially mental injuries, are framed.
The distinction between what are called “economic” damages versus “non-economic” damages can shed light on the limits for beneficiaries, or family members, including adopted children, in their quest to seek justice for their lost loved one. There are generally two types of damages:
- Economic damages: money that was spent on medical bills or unpaid wages due to loss of being able to work, also known as earning capacity. For instance, in medical malpractice claims, expenses for consultation and treatment by doctors, whose care was subpar.
- Non-economic damages: an abstract and often inflated value a person places on the mental distress such as loss of companionship and mental anguish suffered after an accident.
According to Boca-Raton-based Grossman Firm, currently Florida does not place caps on these kinds of damages, unless there is a claim made against the government. In that case, it is $200,000. Estate of McCall v. U.S. 134 So. 3d 894 (2014).
Damages in wrongful death cases in Florida more accurately include:
- Potentially thousands of dollars based on not able to work anymore.
- The value of the deceased as a professional counselor or life coach to the survivors.
- Family suffering caused by the death of a loved one.
- Loss of a loved one’s presence.
- Lost property, or loss of inheritance, or land that would have belonged to the family member had the family member lived longer.
Negotiation skills, familiarity with principles such as indemnification and sovereign immunity, that shields certain government actors from liability, helps a victim’s loved ones with representation that increases the odds of recovery, or alternatively shields certain individuals when the law provides for such a shield.
So that money is not unintentionally paid out even when no law requires it, it makes sense to retain a competent and knowledgeable Miami, Florida wrongful death attorney.
What is the Importance of Hiring a Skilled Tampa, Orlando, or Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Whereas a common personal injury lawyers may be generally knowledgeable about how to represent a given client, top-notch Miami, Florida wrongful death attorneys, skilled in representing either side, will be familiar with the most recent decisions in insurance, probate and tort law that affect how much of a recovery the injured victim is eligible to receive.
With firms dedicated to the specialty of wrongful death law, such firms are powerhouses such as the Grossman Firm, the national personal injury law firm and wrongful death firm McDonald Worley, P.C., among others in the Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas.
To overcome the grief following an accident, many offer free case evaluations and an initial free consultation upon first making contact with the firm by phone or website.
Whether you are a family member of the deceased who died in an car or trucking accident or motorcycle accident, or the one considered liable for fatalities, a skilled expert specializing in Florida wrongful death law will maximize outcomes for you, the client, by prosecuting or defending against the personal injury wrongful death claim.
In any case, you should be prepared to create a narrative of facts detailing everything that you remembered before, during and after the accident, including keeping meticulous records of medical and funeral expenses and psychological treatment made to recover, or in the case of the one considered to blame, the costs to defend.
Beginning the Attorney-Client Relationship: Call a Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case and Odds of a Obtaining a Favorable Settlement!
Whether or not seeking justice for the decedent in a wrongful death claim, having the right attorney on your side can navigate the vast and ever-changing landscape of personal injury law, caps on damages and case precedent.
To avoid the result of paying damages without evidence of fault, or nonpayment of damages when clear liability is established—it is absolutely critical to locate a Florida wrongful death law firm with a reputation of success.
Whether you are looking for a Miami wrongful death lawyer, Lawsuit.org will help you pinpoint the right one by offering testimonials and a free consultation to obtain the just result the victim’s loved one deserves.