We all hope that our loved ones will live long lives. Unfortunately, life sometimes has other plans. People of all ages are killed every day by events such as car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, nursing home abuse and neglects, slips and falls, dog bites and crime.
When the negligence of another person causes your loved one to die, this is called wrongful death. A person’s wrongful death is unexpected and totally preventable. Therefore, as a surviving family member, you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.
You must make sure you file your claim before the deadline. Each state has statutes of limitations. In Florida, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Elements of Wrongful Death
Before you file a lawsuit, you must first determine if you have a solid claim. A wrongful death claim must satisfy these four elements:
- Negligence. The liable party was acting in a negligent or reckless manner and caused the person’s death.
- Breach of duty. The liable party owed a duty to the victim and breached the duty.
- Causation. The liable party’s negligence directly caused the victim’s death.
- Damages. The victim’s death led to damages for surviving family members, such as medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of income and emotional damages.
A wrongful death claim is not a criminal case. It is a civil suit and therefore does not require as much evidence. The evidence that is to be presented, however, must be credible and in high quality. The burden of proof must be met, so it is of your advantage to hire a lawyer who can determine if you have met your goal.
Your lawyer will need to meet with experts and witnesses to determine if you have a solid case. You may be required to go through mediation with the other party in order to reach an agreement. Many cases are settled outside of court, but if an agreement cannot be reached, your case will go to trial. This is when having a lawyer on your side will especially come in handy.
You will need to know what damages you can receive for your loved one’s death. A wrongful death lawyer can help value your claim. According to Florida Statutes Section 768.21, you can receive various damages, such as:
- Loss of support and services, based on the victim’s income and relationship to the survivor.
- Loss of companionship and mental pain and suffering.
- Loss of parental guidance, instruction and support for minors.
- Medical and funeral expenses
Let Us Help You with Your Case
It can be devastating to lose a loved one in an unexpected accident. Survivors often must bear with financial and emotional damages caused by such as tragic event.
You can receive various forms of compensation for damages caused by a wrongful death. The Miami, Florida personal injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can help you understand your rights your compensation and help you value your damages. Contact our firm today at (305) 371-2692 or visit us online.