Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
If you recently had a loved one die in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. In a wrongful death claim, a surviving spouse or other family sues another party to hold that party accountable for its negligence. As the term implies, the negligence must have caused the other party’s death.
A wrongful death lawsuit can stem from a variety of accident types. An automobile accident, medical malpractice incident, mislabeled product, or even intentional criminal actions can all result in wrongful death suits. Here we will take a look at some of the damages you can recover if your loved one died as the result of another’s negligence.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida law allows only the named personal representative of the decedent’s estate to bring about the claim. This person can be named in the decedent’s will, but it is not uncommon for a person to die without a will. This is known as dying intestate.
When a person dies intestate, the court appoints a personal representative for the estate. The personal representative should act in the interest of any and all surviving heirs who have an interest in the case. Those people who can recover damages from a wrongful death case include the following:
- Any surviving spouse, parents, or children; and
- Any blood or adoptive relatives who relied on the decedent for support or services in any regard.
Children of unmarried parents represent a different story. If the mother dies, the child is entitled to recovered damages. If the father dies, he must have recognized the child as his own and contributed to the child’s support in order for the children to recover.
To recover damages in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove the defendant acted negligently. The conduct must have caused the decedent’s death. Moreover, the conduct must have entitled the decedent to recover damages even if no death had occurred.
Damages in wrongful death cases are strictly monetary. In some cases, a concurrent criminal claim may be filed. In that case, punitive damages might ensue. Monetary damages awarded to the decedent’s estate may include the following:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of guidance, companionship, and protection;
- Funeral expenses paid by the surviving family members;
- Medical expenses paid;
- Lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned had he or she not died; and
- Lost earnings the estate might have acquired if the death had not occurred.
The lawyers involved and the court will do their best to calculate these damages and award the estate accordingly.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If your loved one died as the result of an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The claim must be filed within two years of the date of the death. The best way to increase your odds of success and maximize your recovery is to seek the assistance of an experienced Miami wrongful death attorney. Spencer Morgan Law has the experience to back you and your case during this difficult time. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you recover the damages to which you are entitled.