The unnecessary death of a loved one is a tragic and traumatic event, especially when it occurs due to the negligence or wrongful actions of a third party. Wrongful deaths can leave families struggling financially and emotionally.
Florida law provides avenues for seeking justice and compensation through wrongful death claims. Understanding what constitutes a wrongful death claim is crucial for those seeking to navigate this complex legal process and secure the compensation they deserve to protect their future.
Aigen Law Firm compassionately represents families of wrongful death victims, helping them receive the financial support they need to move forward.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal claim that arises when an individual’s death is caused by the negligence, wrongful act, or breach of duty of another person or party (such as a business). It is a tragic situation where someone loses their life because of the actions or inactions of someone else. Wrongful death claims hold the responsible party accountable and provide compensation to the surviving family members for the losses they have endured.
Types of Negligence Considered Wrongful Death
Various types of negligence can lead to a wrongful death claim in Florida. These include medical malpractice, premises liability, birth injuries, and personal injury accidents like auto collisions and construction mishaps.
- Medical malpractice: In cases of medical negligence, wrongful death can occur if a healthcare professional’s actions or failure to act results in the death of a patient. For example, imagine a patient with heart attack symptoms visits a hospital, but the physician fails to diagnose the condition and sends the patient home without treatment. If the patient later dies of a heart attack, the physician may be liable.
Florida law (section 766.104) requires a reasonable investigation to establish a good faith belief of negligence in the care or treatment of a patient before filing a medical malpractice wrongful death claim.
- Premises liability: Wrongful death can also occur in premises liability cases when an individual dies due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. For instance, a loved one trips on a poorly lit stairwell and passes away due to their injuries. While Florida law (section 768.0705) limits liability in these cases if the injured party was committing a criminal act such as trespassing, it does allow wrongful death claims for the family of victims who were legal guests or visitors on the property.
- Birth injury: Wrongful death claims can arise if a newborn or mother suffers fatal injuries due to medical negligence during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. An example might be a baby who dies due to lack of oxygen because a physician did not properly monitor the mother or child during labor and delivery.
- Vehicle accidents: Fatalities resulting from vehicle accidents, such as car, truck, or motorcycle crashes, caused by the negligence of another party can be considered wrongful death cases. For example, if a drunk driver is speeding and runs a red light, causing a fatal collision.
- Construction accidents: If a loved one dies due to injuries suffered on a construction worksite, it may result in a wrongful death claim. For instance, if a family member falls from scaffolding while working and passes away due to the improper safety measures used by their site manager or employing construction company, you may be entitled to damages in a wrongful death suit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Sections 768.16-768.26 of the Florida Death Act outline who can initiate a wrongful death claim. Under this law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate has the authority to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. Blood relatives or adoptive siblings partially or wholly dependent on the deceased may also file a wrongful death suit.
These parties must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the decedent’s death per section 95.11 4(d) to receive the following damages:
- Lost support and services for survivors
- Surviving spouse’s damages, including lost companionship and protection, as well as pain and suffering
- Damages for minor children’s loss of parental companionship, instruction, guidance, and pain and suffering. In cases with no surviving spouse, all children, regardless of age, may claim these damages.
- Parents of a deceased child may seek damages for mental pain and suffering.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by or on behalf of the decedent
- Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death
How an Attorney Can Help You Investigate a Wrongful Death
Because of the complexity and high stakes in these types of cases, getting help from an experienced attorney is essential. At Aigen Law Firm, we have the resources and experience to help you navigate Florida’s wrongful death laws and receive fair compensation. Here are some of the ways we can help:
- Collecting and analyzing evidence: We understand the importance of documentation in a wrongful death claim and will gather the necessary evidence to build a strong case. This might involve collecting documents like medical records, W2s, or funeral bills to support your claim.
We will also investigate the case by interviewing witnesses and working with medical experts to understand the cause of death and gather additional relevant evidence.
- Establishing negligence or fault: One of the key elements in a wrongful death case is demonstrating that the death was due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. We can help you navigate this process by assembling the evidence and constructing the argument needed to demonstrate fault.
Our firm specializes in handling wrongful death claims, and we have access to more resources, such as accident reconstructionists and case law, to argue your case.
- Quantifying damages: We can help determine the amount of financial compensation you may be entitled to, considering the deceased’s earning potential, the financial and emotional impact on the survivors, and medical and funeral expenses.
- Negotiating with insurance companies: Often, insurance companies are involved in wrongful death claims. We can negotiate with these companies on your behalf to seek a fair settlement.
- Representation in court: If a fair settlement can’t be reached and the case goes to trial, we will represent you in court, presenting your case and arguing on your behalf.
Consult a Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you are dealing with the aftermath of a wrongful death in Florida, don’t face it alone. At Aigen Law Firm in Miami, our experienced legal team can provide the support you need.
Arrange a free consultation where we can advise you on filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a third party. When you are most vulnerable, we’re at our best, supporting you to maximize your settlement.