Florida’s wrongful death statute has provided critical support to family members left behind after a loved one’s death. In particular, spouses often need compensation to replace the lost income their spouse would have earned had he or she lived. When a wrongful death lawsuit is justified, we have obtained lost income and other damages for our clients that have allowed them to move on bravely with the rest of their lives.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, thanks to a Supreme Court decision in 2015. This means that a same-sex spouse has the same rights as other spouses in the state, which matters in wrongful death situations. If you are unsure about your rights, contact a lawyer in Miami today.
Nine Figure Verdict against Tobacco Companies
CBS Miami recently reported on a wrongful death lawsuit that made history: a man successfully sued two tobacco companies after his husband died from a respiratory disease. The plaintiff, Edward Caprio, sued both Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds after his husband died following decades of smoking on the grounds that the companies hid the dangerous effects of smoking from the public.
The jury found in Caprio’s favor, awarding $157 million in damages. Of that amount, $9.2 million were compensatory and $74.1 million were punitive damages against each company. The case was the first successful wrongful death lawsuit involving a same-sex spouse to go to trial in the entire country. The verdict is also one of the largest in the state, but we will have to see if the judge does not reduce the amount of damages awarded.
Must Be Married
Although same-sex spouses can file wrongful death lawsuits in Florida, they must be married, just like opposite-sex couples. It is not enough to be dating or otherwise in a committed relationship; we need to see that you were married so that you qualify under the statute.
In some circumstances, a domestic partner might be named as the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. In this capacity, the person can bring a wrongful death lawsuit; however, the compensation the estate receives might be more limited.
Speak to a Miami Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a loved one is a tragic event, but family members might have important legal rights. To learn more, please contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today. One of our Miami wrongful death lawyers will meet to discuss your case if you contact us at 305-371-2692.