If you suffered the loss of a loved one as the result of the negligence of another, you and your loved one’s estate will want to engage the services of a Plantation wrongful death lawyer. Death is never easy on survivors but it becomes even more difficult if it is the result of somebody else’s actions.
If you are fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of the decedent’s life insurance policy, then your short-term concerns may be satisfied and the thought of a wrongful death lawsuit is probably low on your list of priorities. However, if the death was caused by a clear case of negligence then you will most likely be contacted by the liable party’s insurance company and that quite frankly, is when you will need an experienced wrongful death attorney the most.
Always keep in mind that the goal of the insurance company is not to arrive at a fair and just settlement but rather to settle for as little as possible. Insurance companies will attempt to take advantage of your emotional state. You can avoid the pressure applied by the insurance company by having a Plantation wrongful death lawyer represent you and look after your best interests.
When Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?
Florida law says that when a person’s death “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another person or some other entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida’s courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from it.
The lawsuit will be filed by the estate’s personal representative on behalf of the estate and any surviving family members.
While there may be a criminal case brought by the state to determine criminal negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit is strictly about awarding monetary damages and is a separate suit. Damages are divided between those that surviving family members can receive and those that can be awarded to the estate:
- The value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member. This can include services such as childcare, housekeeping etc.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering if the decedent was a child
- Medical and/or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived
- Lost “prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
You can understand why insurance companies do not want to litigate wrongful death claims. The fear of jury awards is a powerful motivation to try to get the suit dismissed on the basis that the plaintiff couldn’t prove a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract. Constructing compelling arguments that prove these elements is where the wrongful death attorney earns her or his fee.
If you live in Plantation, don’t go through this experience alone. If you have questions or would like a complimentary case review, please contact us at Martin, Lister & Alvarez.