Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Cooper City
When someone close to you dies in an accident that could have been prevented, it can be devastating. The sense of loss and grief you feel is something no one should ever experience. On top of this, your loved one's death may have also left you with unexpected financial hardships.
This is where wrongful death claims come in. In certain circumstances, the law allows you to seek damages from the person responsible for your loved one's death to find some measure of justice and closure.
Every wrongful death claim is different, but usually, the damages available to surviving family members include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses related to the deceased's final illness or injury, funeral expenses, legal fees, and costs, and—perhaps most importantly—compensation for pain and suffering inflicted on the surviving family members.
By bringing a wrongful death suit against those responsible for your loved one's passing, you can secure financial stability for yourself and your family going forward—and bring a sense of justice to a tragedy.What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person dies due to another person's negligence or wrongful act, the deceased's family may be eligible to make a wrongful death claim. These claims exist so that family members can receive compensation for the loss of someone they care about.
Under Florida law, qualifying family members include the deceased's spouse, children, parents, and personal representatives of the deceased's estate. To determine if your situation is eligible for a wrongful death claim in Florida, consider these key points:
- A valid wrongful death claim must show that another person's negligence or misconduct caused or contributed to the death.
- The surviving family must bring a lawsuit against the defendant to receive damages.
- Damages awarded through a wrongful death claim compensate for "losses suffered by the survivors because of their loved one's untimely death."
If you have a loved one who has died due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, then you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. But not just anyone can file such a claim. Only certain individuals and entities in Florida can bring a wrongful death suit. Generally speaking, those parties who can bring such a suit are limited to the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased.
The surviving spouse is typically the first to file such claims and can bring certain damages, including medical and funeral expenses, lost companionship, and lost wages. The children or parents of the deceased can bring their separate action for damages suffered due to their loved one's death.
Using an experienced attorney is critical in ensuring that all legally available steps are taken to receive full compensation and justice on behalf of your deceased loved one. Understanding who can file a wrongful death claim is the first step in taking appropriate legal action.What Types of Damages Are Available in Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death damages are categorized as either economic or non-economic.Economic damages
These are the costs you're able to quantify, like:
- Lost income of the deceased individual.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of benefits, such as retirement contributions, health insurance, and other benefits that the deceased person would have received if they were alive.
These are more difficult to calculate because they refer to emotional losses rather than tangible costs. These include:
- Loss of companionship and protection.
- Pain and suffering that a decedent endured before their death.
- Mental anguish felt by close family members or other survivors as a result of the wrongful death.
When it comes to wrongful death claims in Florida, many situations lead to a claim. These include medical negligence, botched surgery, car accidents, etc.
Regardless of the situation, if someone's carelessness or recklessness has caused a death, this action is deemed wrongful. Here are some actions that could potentially be included in a wrongful death claim:Negligence
If a person breaches their duty of care and causes injury or death to another person, they can be held legally responsible. Negligence usually results from careless or reckless behavior like failing to follow safety procedures or disregarding the laws of the land.Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a health provider fails to provide appropriate care and causes injury or death. This could include anything from misdiagnosis to inappropriate prescriptions to surgical errors.Product Liability
In some cases, faulty products can lead to injury or death. When this happens, the manufacturer could be held responsible for the person's wrongful death. This includes medications with serious side effects, malfunctioning machinery and appliances, auto defects, etc.How Do I Prove My Case in a Wrongful Death Claim?
When you're looking to prove your case in a wrongful death claim, there are a few key things you'll need to do to ensure your claim is taken seriously.
First, you'll have to prove that another party's negligent, reckless, or intentional act caused the death. The amount of evidence related to negligence will vary depending on the situation and circumstances, but it's usually a good idea to collect as much evidence as possible. This includes medical records, police reports, witness statements, photographs, and other documentation.
Second, you'll want to establish who the surviving family members are, typically by submitting birth and marriage certificates. You'll need to demonstrate who is eligible for damages due to their relationship with the deceased.
Thirdly, your attorney can help you calculate the damages you seek from the wrongful death claim. These might include costs related to medical bills before death, funeral expenses, and more. You may also be entitled to lost wages or benefits if the deceased person was employed at the time of death. Other factors, such as loss of companionship or emotional distress, may also play into this calculation.What Happens if I Win a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you win a wrongful death claim in Florida, the court will award damages or compensation, depending on the circumstances of the case. Depending on your damages, you may be able to recover some of the following:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses related to the deceased's injury or illness
- Lost earning capacity of your deceased loved one
- Loss of companionship/support
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by your deceased loved one
- Punitive damages (if applicable)
It's important to keep in mind that all cases are different — there is no one size fits all answer for what happens when you win a wrongful death claim. Ultimately, how much you receive will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
- The severity of the injury/illness that caused their death.
- The particular situation surrounding the case.
- The amount of evidence and research you present in court.
The good news is that you can file a claim if your loved one died during a personal injury claim. But you have to be careful—the laws governing wrongful death claims in Florida are complex, so it's important to get legal advice from an experienced wrongful death attorney.
It's important to remember that the state law sets criteria for filing a wrongful death claim. These include:
- The person who died must have had a valid claim for personal injury or wrongful death against the defendant before death.
- The surviving family members must be entitled to recover damages for their loss under Florida law.
- The relatives eligible to file a claim must include the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased and any other blood relatives or adopted siblings dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support before their death.
- There are limits to how much financial compensation can be awarded in a wrongful death case based on how much damages were incurred due to the victim's death and what type of decedent was involved (for example, if it was an elderly person or minor child).
It's important to understand that only certain eligible family members can seek compensation only if they meet all the other criteria required by Florida state law—so it pays to get legal counsel on this issue before proceeding with any claim.Can a Civil Case Be Filed at The Same Time as A Criminal Case?
Yes, civil and criminal cases can both be filed at the same time. This is called a 'concurrent action' and is most commonly seen when a defendant is sued for wrongful death.
When you decide to file a wrongful death claim in Florida, you typically have two options: a civil suit, which family members bring to seek monetary compensation for their losses, or a criminal prosecution case, which is brought by the state against the accused person or party.
Both types of cases can be opened simultaneously; however, it's important to note that some civil claims may stay if there is an ongoing criminal trial. Additionally, if you opt to go forward with only one type of case, it won't prevent the filing of the other case later on.
If you do choose to pursue both types of cases at once, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The burden of proof in each case can differ – civil suits must be proven by "the preponderance of the evidence," while criminal cases require "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" for someone to be found guilty.
- The parties involved also differ – while a civil lawsuit requires that any damages awarded come from the defendant's pocket or insurance companies, conversely, criminal cases operate under state laws or statutes and usually carry fines determined by the court.
- In this situation, settlements are also possible – if somebody decides they don't want to risk going forward with either trial, they may offer up an out-of-court settlement instead. However, typically settlements would not absolve someone from a criminal.
You may wonder if you can be awarded punitive damages if you win your wrongful death claim. The answer is…maybe.
It depends on your case's exact circumstance and Florida's laws regarding punitive damages. You are eligible to receive them only in certain cases. Punitive damages allow a court to award an amount beyond what is necessary to cover actual losses, compensation for pain and suffering, or other standard types of losses related to a wrongful death claim.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the person who caused the wrongful death and deter such behavior in the future. These awards are not meant to compensate families for their losses; rather, they exist as a way for courts to ensure wrongdoers do not profit from their bad behavior. So before you can be awarded punitive damages, it must be established that the person responsible acted intentionally, maliciously, or recklessly.
Generally speaking, there is no limit on how much money you can receive in punitive damages; however, there are caps placed by some states that limit how much a Plaintiff can recover in these cases. In Florida, these caps vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and whether Plaintiff was found guilty of contributory negligence—so it's best to consult with an experienced lawyer before making a claim.Apart From Wrongful Death Claims What Other Claims Can I File?
Apart from wrongful death claims, here are some other types of injury claims you can file in the state of Florida:Personal Injury Claims
You can file a personal injury claim if you become injured due to another's negligence or recklessness. Depending on the severity and type of accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation for medical bills and expenses, loss of wages, and even pain and suffering caused by your injury.Medical Malpractice Claims
If you're injured due to medical malpractice — meaning the doctor failed to meet expected standards of care —you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. This could be anything from misdiagnosis or treatment complications resulting in an undesired outcome.Product Liability Claims
Product liability is when someone is injured because a company failed to manufacture a safe product or adequately warn consumers against the foreseeable danger of using its product. If you're injured while using a product that did not perform as intended, filing a product liability claim may help recover any damages sustained from an injury.Is My Claim Valid If I Don't Have a Lawyer?
You might ask yourself, "Do I need a lawyer to make a wrongful death claim?" The short answer is no. Without hiring an attorney, you can file a claim on your behalf—or as the appointed estate representative. If you do decide to proceed without legal counsel, there are two main things that you should keep in mind:Know the Law
It's important that you have a good understanding of Florida's wrongful death statute and how it relates to your situation. Knowing the technicalities of the law is key since the defense could try to use loopholes or technical errors to delay or dismiss your case.Understand Your Rights
Ensure you understand what rights and options are available to you before you start filing your claim. There is more than one way for you and your family to seek compensation for wrongful death, so it's important that you know all of them before making any decisions.
This includes knowing what kind of evidence is necessary to prove negligence and what kind of compensation can be sought in a wrongful death lawsuit.At What Point Should I Get Legal Help?
If someone you love has died due to the negligence of another party, it may be appropriate to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer if you want to pursue legal action. Talking to an attorney is usually one of the best things you can do immediately. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can provide you with options and information on how to proceed with a wrongful death claim, including:
- Investigating the cause of death
- Gathering evidence and witness statements
- Identifying liable parties
- Filing a claim
- Establishing damages
- Negotiating a settlement
Not only will an experienced wrongful death attorney know the local laws and procedures required for making a successful claim in Florida, but they will also be able to effectively manage your case and ensure you receive all you are entitled to.Contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Cooper City
When it comes to wrongful death, contacting a lawyer as soon as possible is essential. An experienced lawyer can help you with your case and advise you on the best way to get the justice and compensation you deserve.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our wrongful death lawyers are here to help families who have suffered loss due to wrongful death. Our lawyers are skillful, experienced, and knowledgeable in wrongful death cases and will provide you with compassionate legal representation.
With multiple offices in Florida and serving in Cooper City, we provide dedicated and comprehensive legal counsel to those who have lost loved ones due to the negligence of another person or entity.
You don't have to go through this difficult time alone – our lawyers will fight for justice on your behalf. To schedule an appointment or get more information about how we can help you, contact us at (561) 800-8000 or visit our website for more information.