Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Vero Beach

You might be asking yourself why you should care about wrongful death claims. The truth is anyone could be impacted by wrongful death at some point in their lives—so it's important to understand your rights and the steps you need to take in the event of a loved one's wrongful death.

Firstly, it's important to note that if you decide to pursue a wrongful death claim, ensuring you have an experienced lawyer on your side is essential.

Not only will they be able to help guide you through the process of filing a claim, but they can also help navigate the Florida laws that often apply in these situations and explain any potential defenses or claims of contributory negligence.

If your case is successful, litigating compensatory damages is key. Whether you can recover money or not, this type of award can help you recoup losses for things like medical expenses and lost wages — plus, depending on the situation, other reimbursement items like funeral costs or loss of companionship.

Mental anguish and severe emotional distress are also compensable damages in Florida law — meaning, depending on your situation and legal standing, these could factor into determining financial compensation through a successful wrongful death lawsuit.

It pays to know your rights — and knowing what you're entitled to legally can help ensure justice is served after such a catastrophic event.

What Qualifies as A Wrongful Death?

When filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, it's important to understand what does and does not qualify as wrongful death. In Florida, wrongful death is "the death of an individual caused by the negligence or wrong doing of another." This can range from simple medical malpractice to complex car crashes or workplace accidents.


Negligence is one of the most common elements in a wrongful death case. This includes any form of intentional misconduct, carelessness, recklessness, lack of skill or knowledge that resulted in an individual's death.

Intentional Acts

In any case, where the defendant has committed an act intended to cause harm or take away a life, this qualifies as an intentional act and should be regarded as a wrongful death case. This could include instances like vehicular homicide or criminal assault and battery.

Other types of cases that could qualify for wrongful death include:

  • Product Liability: When faulty products cause injury or death.
  • Nursing Home Abuse: When residents are mistreated to the point of no return.
  • Medical Malpractice: When doctors do not adhere to standards of care or make mistakes that lead to fatal injuries.
  • Vehicular Homicide: When drivers recklessly cause the deaths of innocent bystanders.

Determining whether your loved one's passing qualifies as a wrongful death can be difficult because such claims require thorough investigation and legal expertise. It's best to speak with an experienced attorney to ensure your case meets all elements required for a civil action and accountability for the accused party responsible for their passing.

Does Florida Share The Same Laws on Wrongful Death Claims With Other States?

No, Florida has its specific laws when it comes to wrongful death claims. To fully understand how to file a wrongful death claim in Florida, you should become familiar with the state's laws and regulations.

Here are some key details you should know about wrongful death claims in Florida:

Statute of Limitations

In Florida, you have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death claim forward. This is known as the 'statute of limitation.' So, it's important to keep track of the time and start filing your claim as soon as possible to meet this deadline.

Who Is Eligible For Damages?

If someone you care about has wrongfully passed away due to another person's negligence or recklessness in Florida, you may be eligible for damages related to your loss. The only people eligible are survivors or representatives of the deceased estate who can prove that they have suffered a financial loss due to their loved one's death.

Types Of Damages That Can Be Recovered

If your claim is successful, you could be eligible for compensation for lost wages or benefits, services, and support provided by your loved one before their death and funeral expenses, among other things. It's important to keep records of these costs when filing a claim to include them in any settlement or judgment awarded by the court.

What Does Burden of Proof Mean in a Wrongful Death Claim?

When filing a wrongful death claim in Florida, you'll need to prove that the defendant's negligence caused your loved one's death. This is referred to as the "burden of proof." To meet this burden of proof, you'll need to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one and that they breached it, leading directly to the death.

To understand what this means specifically for your case, let's look at some examples:

An Automobile Accident

If your loved one were killed in an automobile accident, you'd need to prove that another driver was negligent—and that their negligence directly caused your loved one's death. This might involve proving that the driver was speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise not exercising reasonable caution with their driving.

Medical Malpractice

If your loved one died as a result of medical malpractice, you'd need to demonstrate that the doctor or healthcare provider owed a duty of care to provide adequate treatment and care—but failed in some way. You will then need to show how this failure directly led to your loved one's death.

By meeting this burden of proof, you can prove that another party was liable for causing your loved one's death and qualify for compensation for damages arising from their passing.

Is An Autopsy Necessary In A Wrongful Death Case?

You might be wondering if an autopsy is necessary in a wrongful death case in Florida. Unfortunately, it's not a straightforward question to answer, and how autopsies are used in wrongful death cases can vary drastically.

When Is An Autopsy Necessary?

Sometimes, an autopsy is necessary to discern the cause of someone's death. Depending on the circumstances, your legal team may determine that an autopsy is necessary to solidify your wrongful death claim.

Typically, if the evidence collected at the incident or accident scene isn't enough to prove what happened and who was responsible for someone's death, then a court will order an autopsy. Of course, these orders vary from case to case, and what will be ordered for one claim may differ.

If you and your legal team decide that you need an autopsy performed, then it will likely be done by a medical examiner looking at body tissue samples and performing tests like X-rays or CT scans. The results of these tests and any other available evidence can be used in court as part of your wrongful death case against whoever was responsible for the accident or incident that led to your loved one's passing.

Who Pays in a Wrongful Death Suit?

When you file a wrongful death suit, it may seem like the person who caused the death is responsible for paying you, but it's not that simple. Depending on what happened, there could be multiple parties held responsible for the death of your loved one.

Typically insurance companies are the ones that payout wrongful death claims in Florida. That means an insurance company would be responsible for covering medical costs and other damages related to the wrongful death of your loved one.

However, if an insurance company or an individual can show that another party was also partially liable for the death, they could also be held responsible to split the damages owed in a wrongful death claim. In some cases, this can lead to multiple parties being held liable when someone dies due to negligence or another act of wrongdoing.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

When you make a wrongful death claim, you may be entitled to recover economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include medical bills, the decedent's anticipated future wages, and funeral expenses. Non-economic damages are the hardest to measure, as they may include pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before their death.

It's important to note that any compensation received as a result of a wrongful death claim may be taxable income in your state. Other than that, there are two major ways settlements are paid out:

Lump Sum Payments

Most wrongful death settlements are paid out in one lump sum payment. This means that all beneficiaries receive the proceeds from the settlement in one payment rather than being spread out in individual payments over time.

Structured Settlements

Structured settlements involve settling for a fixed monthly or annual payout over an extended period, often for many years, rather than one lump sum payment of the entire amount at once. This type of payout is typically used when beneficiaries are minors and when a high amount of money is involved.

If Wrongful Death Damages Are Recovered, Is That Money Taxable?

It's a difficult question, and knowing the answer is important. Generally, wrongful death damages are not taxable, as they are awarded to compensate family members for expenses associated with their loved one's death. This includes medical and funeral expenses, lost wages that the deceased would have earned had they lived, pain and suffering before their death, and loss of companionship.

When it comes to how this money is distributed, it can be split up in accordance with a will or predetermined in a settlement agreement. The main thing to remember is that any money you receive in wrongful death damages is not taxable. That means you won't have to pay taxes on this money, so you can use it for any necessary purpose.

How Does The Money Get Split If There Is More Than One Wrongful Death Beneficiary?

If you're planning to file a wrongful death claim in Florida, you may have more than one beneficiary—for example, if a spouse, child, or sibling passed away. In those cases, the money gets split according to the laws in Florida.


Spouses are always the first beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim. Whether it's a wife or husband, they receive money from the insurance company for their emotional and financial losses.


If children are involved, they will receive compensation in two forms: economic and non-economic damages from their deceased parent. Economic damages are meant to cover costs such as medical bills and cremation services, while non-economic damages relate to emotional pain or suffering caused by the death of their parent.


Siblings who are adults can also file a wrongful death claim if they have been financially dependent on their sibling who died. The surviving sibling will be compensated for their loss of support and companionship when the other sibling dies.

Depending on who is filing the wrongful death claim and if there is more than one beneficiary involved, these settlements may be divided up differently according to what is fair given all circumstances.

Are Wrongful Death Settlements Public Records?

You may wonder if the settlement is a public record when dealing with wrongful death claims. The good news is that wrongful death claim settlements are not public records in Florida. This means that settlements are generally kept confidential when someone files a wrongful death lawsuit and won't be available for anyone to view or obtain.

In almost all cases, confidentiality agreements will be included in the settlement agreement between the parties involved. However, the exact details of a wrongful death claim settlement will remain private. You can rest assured that your settlement amount and other private details will not become public knowledge.

Exceptions to Public Record Laws

There are a few exceptions to public record laws in Florida when it comes to wrongful death settlements. For example, if some portion of the settlement is paid using public funds or funds from a local government entity, such as tax money, those documents would become available for public view.

Additionally, any case that makes it to trial becomes part of the court's official records and can then be accessed by anyone through the court system.

If I Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Will I Have To Go To Court?

You probably won't have to go to court. Most wrongful death cases in Florida are settled out of court and never reach the trial stage. You'll want to discuss whether a settlement or a courtroom is best for you to pursue justice with an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Settling out of court can provide a quick resolution, and you won't have to worry about the uncertainty of trials. A settlement can also help preserve family privacy since it occurs behind closed doors.

Negotiating A Settlement

Negotiating a settlement is typically a long process involving several rounds of back and forth between your attorney and the defendant. They will make offers and counter-offers until they reach an agreement that both parties are satisfied with. It's important to remember that it's your family's right to have someone represent them as they negotiate a fair outcome for any wrongful death case in Florida.

What Should I Look For In Choosing A Wrongful Death Attorney To Represent Me?

Choosing a wrongful death lawyer is an important decision. You want to feel comfortable talking with your attorney and have faith in their ability to represent you. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you search for the right attorney:

Experience and Expertise

Experience counts when it comes to an understanding of the complexities of wrongful death law. What types of wrongful death cases has the lawyer handled in the past? How successful were their outcomes? Are they familiar with all aspects of wrongful death litigation, including mediation, arbitration, and trial?

Reputation in the Legal Community

A lawyer's reputation within the legal community is a good indicator of their competence. Don't be afraid to ask and find out if other lawyers would recommend this particular attorney.

Comfort Level

Your attorney should take the time to listen to you and provide answers that you truly understand. Do you have a good rapport with the lawyer? Do they make you feel heard? A comfortable relationship with your lawyer is essential for feeling confident about your case.

Contact Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Vero Beach

It can be hard to know what to do after the wrongful death of a loved one. The Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers team is here to help. We understand the pain and trauma of this kind of loss and take our responsibility as wrongful death lawyers seriously.

We can guide you through your wrongful death claim, working with you to protect your rights and win the compensation you deserve for losing your loved one. Our wrongful death lawyers serve Vero Beach and nearby areas, so call us at (561) 800-8000 if you need us. We are here for you.

We are proud to provide comprehensive legal services for Vero Beach residents who have suffered a wrongful death due to negligence or malicious intent. Our attorneys will ensure that all applicable laws are considered when filing a claim, ensuring that our client's rights are protected and that they get the compensation they deserve.

Our experienced attorneys have handled many cases involving wrongful death claims in Florida. Whether it is due to medical malpractice, car accidents, defective products, or other negligent conduct, we will review the facts of your case and build a customized strategy that maximizes your chances of success. We have an in-depth knowledge of the law and strive to deliver optimal results in all our cases.

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