Wrongful Death

Representing the Personal Representatives of the Estates of Wrongful Death Victims in Miami-Dade County, Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale area), Palm Beach County, Monroe County (Key Largo to Key West), Lee County (Ft. Myers) and throughout the State of Florida

An accident or intentional conduct that results in the death of a family member or friend can be the basis for a wrongful death action. Suing for a loved one’s death may seem odd. Certainly no lawsuit can bring a loved one back. The rationale for legal action is that there is no other recourse available in situations like this and further that the remaining family members may have been deprived of income as a result of the wrongful death.

The initial meeting between the attorney and family will consist of covering the basics of a lawsuit. The family should bring as much information as they have access to at the time. If the family has a problem reaching the law firm, arrangements can be made to come to you (This is especially true if the family is outside of South Florida). Our personal injury attorneys will go over each and every question regarding to the case and the possible outcomes. There is no guarantee of winning, and there is no guarantee of a specific monetary recovery. Recoveries vary widely depending on liability issues and such factors as insurance limits.

What to expect? Time: there is usually some drawn out litigation involved when someone has died. If liability is clear from the facts of the case, the time period may be shortened dramatically. In general the case can last from one month to three years. Again, time periods are generalized.

Cost: the costs of litigating the case will be paid by the law firm. These costs can be extensive and repayment will come from settlement or verdict rendered in the case. Examples of costs are expenditures for accident reconstruction; economic and vocational training experts; deposition costs; and courtroom exhibits. The costs and the retainer agreement fees will be deducted from the settlement or verdict.

Florida Wrongful Death Act

Florida is very unique in that there is a statute, known as the Florida Wrongful Death Act, designed exclusively for wrongful death actions. The act is detailed and covers a variety of issues. We will carefully explain the parts of the statute relevant to your case.

Florida law requires that a wrongful death lawsuit be started and pursued by the personal representative of the estate. Many times the personal representative will be the surviving spouse or a surviving parent. The personal representative brings the action on behalf of the estate and each individual survivor who may have a claim against the defendant(s) in a wrongful death action under Florida law.  The personal representative represents each and every survivor in the lawsuit.

In a Florida wrongful death case, “survivor” means the decedent’s spouse, minor children, parents, and – when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services – any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. For the purposes of the statute, minor children means children under the age of 25.

The damages aspect of a wrongful death lawsuit is based on several theories. One is the mental pain of the surviving spouse, parents and/or minor children. Loss of companionship, instruction and guidance are also potential types of damages which relate to the spouse and/or minor children. Economic factors are lost support and services, as well as medical and funeral expenses for the estate. There is also the possibility of punitive damages whenever wrongful death is the cause of action. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and are not applicable to all cases.

In wrongful death lawsuits, we understand that the family is dealing with grief over the loss of their loved one as well as anger towards the defendant(s) and very real financial concerns if the loved one was the major bread winner. We make every effort to provide representation that is sensitive to these factors, particularly the grief that, at times, may be overwhelming and long-lasting.

Call us at (305) 279-4740 or contact us online for a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.