What is a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Losing a loved one to someone else’s negligence is referred to as wrongful death in legal terms, and the claim you bring will be a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are legally challenging, but obtaining the compensation to which you and your family are entitled is critical to your ability to heal as fully as possible. While nothing can right the wrong you’ve experienced by bringing your loved one back to you, an experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer can help you on the long journey forward.
Your Wrongful Death Claim
In the State of Florida, your wrongful death claim is intended to provide you with a financial remedy for your tremendous loss. A wrongful death occurs when a victim dies as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act – or as a result of the other person’s violation of a contract or warranty. While the state can bring a criminal case against the person or entity if his or her actions in the matter are criminal, the victim’s family members can bring a wrongful death claim, which is a civil matter. It’s important to note that the two are entirely separate. That said, if the incident that led to your claim is also a criminal matter, waiting for the court’s ruling in the criminal case may help bolster your own.
The Elements of Your Claim
In order to bring a successful wrongful death claim in the State of Florida, there are several elements that must be present, including:
- The victim lost his or her life as a direct result of someone else’s negligent or intentional act
- The victim has survivors who were harmed by his or her death
- That harm amounts to legal damages (or losses)
Proving every element of your claim is exacting work that requires careful legal attention and is best left in the experienced hands of your accomplished wrongful death lawyer.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death claim (or the time limit set by the law) is a brief two years from the date of your loved one’s death (not from the date of his or her accident that ultimately proved fatal). The fact is, however, that these complicated claims can take a considerable amount of time to carefully compile – in advocacy of your rights and rightful compensation – and when you compound this with the grief that you’ve been forced to endure, it makes the matter that much more challenging. Consulting with a dedicated wrongful death lawyer sooner rather than later is in your best interest.
Who May File?
In Florida, your wrongful death case will be filed by a personal representative of the decedent (or the loved one whom you’ve lost) – who will bring the case on behalf of the decedent’s survivors and his or her estate. The decedent’s will should designate a personal representative, but if it doesn’t, the court will appoint one. In Florida, the following qualify as survivors of the decedent:
- His or her spouse
- His or her children (those under the age of 25 are entitled to enhanced damages)
- His or her parents
- His or her blood relatives (or adoptive siblings) who were at least partially dependent on the decedent for support
In your wrongful death claim, you can seek damages on behalf of the survivors and on behalf of your loved one’s estate, which will go toward balancing the estate’s accounting, including:
- Damages for the decedent’s lost wages, benefits, and earnings from the time of the fatal injury to the time of his or her death
- The medical expenses paid by the estate and incurred between the time of the accident that ultimately proved fatal and the decedent’s death
- The funeral expenses paid by the estate
- The amount of earnings and benefits the decedent could have reasonably expected to retain in the form of savings and as part of his or her estate had he or she lived
Additionally, there are those damages that are awarded to the decedent’s survivors, including:
- The loss of your loved one’s support and services
- The loss of your loved one’s companionship and protection
- The mental pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of your immense loss
- The loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance provided by your loved one
- Any medical and/or funeral expenses paid directly by a survivor of your loved one
Seeking the complete damages to which you are entitled as a survivor is very likely critical to your ability to heal as fully as possible.
Your Wrongful Death Lawyer’s Role
Wrongful death claims are exceptionally challenging legally, and because they involve the loss of a loved one, they are also exceptionally challenging emotionally. This makes working with a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer paramount. Your wrongful death claim will likely proceed through the at-fault party’s insurance provider – such as through his or her car insurance carrier if the deadly accident was a traffic accident – but the insurance company is profit-based, which means that it is heavily invested in settling for as little as possible. Your wrongful death lawyer is tasked with all of the following important goals:
- Compiling your strongest claim in defense of your legal rights and your just compensation
- Skillfully negotiating with the insurance provider for fair compensation that covers your damages in their entirety
- Carefully preparing for trial in the event the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith
You Need an Experienced Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer on Your Side
The compassionate wrongful death lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm – proudly serving Miami, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County – have the experience, drive, and legal insight to help guide your claim toward a favorable resolution that upholds your legal rights and allows your family to begin the healing process. We’re available to take your call 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 800-800-6500 today.