Wrongful Death Cases in South Florida
According to Florida statute 768.19, a wrongful death claim is a civil action lawsuit that can be filed if a person’s death is caused by either the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract of another person or entity. A wrongful death case in South Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death, according to Florida Statutes 95.11(4) (a)(d).
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
There are many types of wrongful death claims. In south Florida these claims are applicable when a victim who would otherwise file a personal injury claim is killed as a result of negligence or intentional harm. Wrongful death cases can arise out of many circumstances, including:
- Medical malpractice
- Automobile or airplane accident involving negligence
- Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals or conditions
- Criminal behavior
- Death during a supervised activity
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in South Florida?
To file a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs must prove the fault of wrongful death claims against the defendant. For example, in the event of negligence, the plaintiffs must determine the defendant breached their duty of care, that this was a direct or proximate cause of death, and that the death caused the damages the plaintiff is demanding to recover.
In South Florida, wrongful death is often filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim. In most cases, wrongful death damages are awarded to spouses, minor children, and parents of a minor child. In some cases, adult children and parents of adult children can also be awarded damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
The Florida Statutes 768.21 sets the state’s rules for the wrongful death damages the surviving family members may receive. These can be based on the losses experienced from the moment of the negligent act causing the death, until the time of the decedent’s death. Alternatively, they can be a broader category that covers all damages experienced by the next of kin after the deceased’s death. Surviving family members can file a claim for:
- Loss of prospective net accumulations of an estate
- The loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection
- Any medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent’s injury or death
- Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the time of death
- The value of lost support and services from the day of the decedent’s injury until their death
- Loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance for mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s injury
Also, depending on the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death claim, the surviving family can also claim punitive damages. These are awarded when the defendant engaged in reckless or egregious conduct resulting in the death of the deceased. Punitive damages are specifically designed to punish the defendant in an attempt to deter similar behavior in the future.
Build Your Defense Team
Family members of the deceased are responsible for meeting the “burden of proof,” which is a way of saying they must present proof of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. In this case, working with a wrongful death lawyer to represent you and your family helps ensure you follow the right steps to proving the defendant’s negligence and claiming justice for your family member.
Working with Wrongful Death Attorneys in South Florida
If you or someone you know has faced the unspeakable burden of losing a loved one to the hands of a negligent party, don’t hesitate to fight for justice and hold those liable accountable for their irresponsible actions. Reach out to one of the wrongful death attorneys at LJ Law Group; they will care for your family with sensitivity, loyalty, and perseverance so we can face negligence with consequences, and prevent these parties from hurting any more families in the future.