Important Terms to Know When Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Slip and falls, car crashes, and pedestrian accidents are just a few of the ways in which people in Miami become hurt every day. Sometimes, these accidents are so severe, that the accident victim does not survive them. When another person’s negligence caused the death, family members can recover compensation for their losses through a wrongful death claim. Compensation can provide for the loss of companionship and support, lost income the deceased provided, and more. Before filing a claim, though, there are some important terms in wrongful death lawsuits you should know.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act defines wrongful death as one that occurs due to someone else’s negligence, or carelessness. Essentially, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim the deceased could have filed for their own losses had they survived the accident.
Wrongful death can occur due to either an unintentional or intentional act or failure to act. For example, a doctor may make a mistake that costs a patient their life. Although the mistake was unintentional, the doctor can still be held liable in a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death resulting from murder or assault and battery, on the other hand, is an intentional act. Still, those responsible for the death can still be held liable in a wrongful death claim.
The Personal Representative
A personal representative represents the best interests of a deceased or incapacitated person. The term is most common in elder and probate law, but it also plays a role in wrongful death claims. A personal representative is often named in a person’s estate plan, such as in their will. Only the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased did not have an estate plan or a named personal representative, the court will name one.
Although it is only the personal representative who can file a wrongful death claim, this does not mean the surviving loved ones of the deceased cannot claim compensation. Under the law, the personal representative will file the claim on behalf of the deceased’s survivors. The law defines survivors as the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. Sometimes, other blood relatives such as adopted siblings are also considered survivors. To claim compensation, these individuals must show that they were at least partially dependent on the deceased for support or services.
The survivors of the decedent are essentially the beneficiaries. Any damages that are awarded in a wrongful death claim are then distributed among them.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Miami are On Your Side
Wrongful death claims can never bring a person back, but they can help offset the financial burden death imposes. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, our Miami wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to helping families during their difficult times, and we can help you claim the maximum damages you deserve. Call us today at 305-371-2692 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.