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4 FAQs about Building a Wrongful Death Claim

white coffin being carried at funeral

4 FAQs about Building a Wrongful Death Claim

Losing a close friend or relative is never easy. However, this loss can be especially profound when your loved one was needlessly killed due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another. Under these circumstances, certain individuals may be permitted under the law to file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for the loss. While no wrongful death lawsuit can ever bring back your loved one or fully make up for this type of devastating loss, it can help hold accountable those who are responsible and may help to prevent future harm to others.  Monetary recoveries in wrongful death lawsuits can also help make up for your loved ones’ lost income, support, or services.

white coffin being carried at funeral

In this article, we answer a few frequently asked questions regarding wrongful death cases:

1. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

Florida law dictates who may seek compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, there are limitations and not all family members are entitled to pursue claims. Typically those entitled to pursue wrongful death claims include parents, children, and spouses. There are multiple exceptions, however. If you have any questions about who may legally pursue a wrongful death claim in Florida, you should immediately seek consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney. The law in this area can be unclear and varies depending on the type of lawsuit that is pursued.

Additionally, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This of course requires that an estate be established. The personal representative is in charge of the litigation and brings the lawsuit on behalf of those survivors entitled under Florida law to pursue claims.

2. What Kinds of Damages Are Available?

There is a wide range of losses available to the surviving family members of the deceased, but the types of recoverable damages you can pursue will usually depend on the unique circumstances surrounding your case. Such losses might include:

  • The deceased’s medical expenses;
  • Funeral and burial costs;
  • The deceased’s household contributions in the form of wages, support, and services;
  • Mental pain and anguish suffered by the surviving family members as the result of the wrongful death;
  • Attendant services; and
  • Loss of companionship.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you will only receive compensation for the losses you can demonstrate. It is vital to track your economic expenses carefully and work with your attorney to establish the value of your intangible damages (e.g., loss of companionship). You and your attorney may also retain professional expert witnesses to discuss the value of the decedent’s lost services, support, wages, etc.

3. How Long Will I Have to File a Lawsuit?

Under Florida law, you have just two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit under most circumstances. Like many legal issues, however, this timeframe can vary depending on the specific circumstances and facts of your claim. It is always wise to seek the opinion of an experience wrongful death attorney as soon as possible if you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit. While two years may seem like ample time, oftentimes there is much investigation and preparation that must be undertaken prior to the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner that attorney will be able to gather necessary medical records, document your losses, and investigate liability issues in your case.  In order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, you will have the burden of presenting evidence on both liability and damages. An attorney could help you discover and secure the information you will need to win your case.

4. How Can an Attorney Assist with My Wrongful Death Case?

This will depend on the nature of your wrongful death claim. For example, if you are considering a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a tractor trailer collision, an attorney can help you request that the involved vehicles be stored for inspection and use in litigation.  Today, most vehicles have electronically stored information that can be absolutely critical in establishing liability and fault in a wrongful death claim. For example, tractor trailers can have video surveillance cameras capturing footage from both inside and outside the cab and electronic information that can confirm speed, braking and steering inputs, and changes in vehicle velocity.  In a medical negligence case, your attorney can retain a variety of medical experts to evaluate whether there was negligence and potential liability issues that the defense lawyer, insurance adjuster, or hospital may raise.

Discuss Your Case with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Miami Today

If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you may be able to seek compensation for the losses and damages you suffered. At Viñas & DeLuca, PLLC, we can assess your claim as part of a free consultation,  weigh the strengths and weaknesses of case, and discuss your options for seeking compensation. To schedule a case review with a Florida wrongful death attorney, reach out to us today at (305) 372-3650 or by sending us a message via our contact page HERE.