Cases of wrongful death can be heartbreaking and can entail significant expenses for families left behind after these incidents. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or improper action of others, you need the help of a qualified South Florida wrongful death lawyer to pursue your claims and to hold the guilty parties responsible for their actions. Your attorney can help you achieve a measure of closure and can help you to obtain the compensation to which you are legally entitled for your loss.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In the state of Florida, the death of an individual because of the intentional or accidental actions of another person may be deemed a wrongful death. In these cases, the family members or estate beneficiaries of the deceased person can often sue the responsible parties for wrongful death. Some examples of wrongful death incidents include the following:
- Criminal and intentional activity that results in loss of life
- Negligence on the part of a driver, boater or other vehicle operator
- Preventable accidents in the workplace
- Medical malpractice that claims the life of a patient
- Defective products that cause fatalities when used as directed
Working with a South Florida personal injury lawyer is a good first step toward determining if you or your family can sue the parties responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?
Under Florida law, only the executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a claim for wrongful death. The executor serves as the representative of the estate and the family members left behind in these legal actions. The statute of limitations in Florida for wrongful death lawsuits resulting from negligence is just two years, which begins on the date of the wrongful death. This means that acting quickly is essential to ensure fair compensation for these tragic events.
If the death of the individual is deemed to be a result of manslaughter or deliberate murder, however, there is no applicable statute of limitations. Wrongful death lawsuits in these cases may be filed at any time.
What Is the Difference Between Criminal Charges and Civil Cases?
The person or persons responsible for the wrongful death of another individual may be tried in criminal court for their actions. These legal actions can result in fines, community service, probation and even jail time. By contrast, civil lawsuits for wrongful death allow the estate of the deceased individual to receive financial compensation and do not entail other punishments for the responsible parties.
In a criminal case, the guilt of the defendant must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Your South Florida wrongful death lawyer, however, will only have to prove the responsibility of the defendant or defendants by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a significantly lower burden of proof for these civil cases.
What Kind of Compensation Can Families Receive in Wrongful Death Cases?
Your South Florida personal injury lawyer will seek compensation for a wide range of losses stemming from the death of your loved one, including the following expenses and damages:
- Emotional pain and suffering
- The loss of financial and emotional support provided by the deceased person
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental support
- Lost wages and earnings from the date of the incident until the date of death
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Earnings that were likely to be saved by the deceased to become part of the estate
- Punitive damages for cases in which the actions of the responsible party were especially reckless, negligent or intentional
Your South Florida wrongful death lawyer will work with your family and your estate executor to create the most compelling case for compensation for your losses.
How a South Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Your attorney will typically collect evidence about the accident or incident as well as information on the financial impact of the wrongful death on your family. While only the executor can file suit against the individual or company responsible for the death of your family member, you may be asked to participate in depositions to explain the emotional impact of the loss and to provide added support for the lawsuit. The compensation that you may receive for your loss will typically be added to the estate of the deceased and distributed to all beneficiaries of the estate in accordance with Florida law.
At Pozo Goldstein, we offer practical help for families in obtaining fair compensation for wrongful deaths in South Florida. Our team has the experience and the expertise necessary to provide you with the right representation for your case. Call our office today at 305-856-0400 to touch base with a South Florida wrongful death lawyer from our office. We are here to serve you and your family now and in the future.