Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer Compassionately Supporting Grieving Families
It can be heartbreaking to think how fast circumstances can change. You can lose someone who meant the world to you in a single act of carelessness caused by someone else. In the aftermath of a fatal accident, you may suddenly find yourself juggling medical expenses, child care, and house payments without the financial and emotional support of your loved one. These financial burdens, along with the costs of medical or funeral expenses, can be overwhelming and could have devastating impacts on your family’s future.
You deserve to recover compensation for your losses from the negligent party who caused the wrongful death of a family member. Galimidi Law will conscientiously manage your wrongful death case and help you get the damages you deserve. There’s an immense amount of grief surrounding the unexpected loss of a loved one. Galimidi Law can help remove some of your worries about legal issues and financial difficulties through careful and thorough handling of your claim so that you can focus on more important things. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.
Wrongful Death Claim Definition
A wrongful death claim can be brought if someone has died and another person or entity was found to be legally at fault. These lawsuits hold the at-fault party liable for their actions and help provide financial recovery to the decedent’s family members who were negatively impacted by their death. The death in question is often due to an accident directly caused by someone else, such as a fatal car accident. However, someone can be held liable for a death they indirectly caused as well, like a drug manufacturer who sold a batch of contaminated medicine which subsequently caused illnesses and fatalities.
Wrongful death claims can also be made in cases where the harm was intentional, such as murder. These claims occur independently of any criminal cases and are not affected by the criminal case’s outcome. For example, even if the criminal trial ended in a verdict of not guilty and the defendant was acquitted, the family could still bring a successful wrongful death suit. The best-known example of this situation is probably from the court cases involving O.J. Simpson. He was acquitted of murder in a criminal trial but found liable for the deaths in a civil suit. These outcomes are possible because the civil court has a lower burden of proof. In a wrongful death suit, the family only needs to convince the court that their version of what caused their loved one’s death is more likely true than not. For a criminal case, the prosecution must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is much more challenging.
How Do Wrongful Deaths Happen?
If an individual dies as a direct result of the negligent actions of another, whether those actions were intentional or accidental, then certain surviving family members are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. There are many different scenarios where wrongful deaths may occur. In general, any situation where an individual would have been eligible to file a personal injury claim had they survived is likely a candidate for a wrongful death lawsuit. Specific examples of situations that could result in wrongful death cases include:
- Anesthesia malpractice
- Birth injuries resulting in death
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck crashes
- Defective product injuries
- Emergency room medical malpractice
- Fatal accidents occurring during a supervised recreational activity
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Nursing home abuse
- Premises liability accidents
- Workplace accidents
As noted above, a family is within their rights to file a wrongful death claim even if a criminal case is pending against the individual who caused the decedent’s death. This overlap may occur in cases of murder, vehicular manslaughter, accidental shootings, and more.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows specified immediate surviving family members to seek compensation in a wrongful death case if their loved one’s passing was caused by a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” However, the suit itself must be filed by a representative of the decedent’s estate on behalf of those family members. The representative has two years from the decedent’s death to file the claim, which is a significantly shorter time than most personal injury cases in Florida. Due to this shortened time span, consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible is essential to ensure your family does not miss their window to recover compensation.
As part of a wrongful death claim, every survivor of the deceased person with an interest in the case must be listed. According to Florida law, these relatives of the decedent are eligible to receive compensation in a wrongful death claim:
- Children under 25 years old
- Other close blood relatives or adoptive siblings, provided they were dependent on the decedent for services or support
What Must Be Proven for a Successful Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff must successfully show three things:
- The decedent died as a direct result of an action or choice the defendant made: The process of proving this is similar to litigating a personal injury case. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent, then subsequently breached their duty, which directly caused the decedent’s death.
- The deceased’s family members are financially suffering due to their loved one’s death: If the surviving family members were dependent upon the decedent’s income, or if they lost services or housing due to their death, this could be used as proof of the financial difficulties experienced. The deceased’s medical debts and funeral expenses can also be a significant drain on a family’s finances.
- A representative has been chosen for the decedent’s estate: A wrongful death action is filed on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Therefore, to recover and distribute damages to the affected heirs, a legal representative must be in charge of the estate’s finances.
Much like a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death suit must establish liability on the part of the defendant for what occurred to the deceased person. To build a robust case, your wrongful death lawyer will gather evidence through interviews of witnesses and experts, examinations of evidence, and recreations by accident specialists. Through this information, they will build a thorough picture of the fatal accident and its causes.
What Damages Are Surviving Family Members Eligible to Recover?
The death of a loved one is a major blow to a family. We often think about the emotional toll of losing a family member, but there can also be significant financial losses. No amount of money can bring back a loved one, but it can help ensure that your family does not struggle, lose their home, or go into debt because of someone else’s tragic, negligent actions. Some damages a wrongful death lawyer may be able to secure for your family include:
- Outstanding medical expenses from the decedent’s accident.
- Pain and suffering are experienced by the deceased person between the accident and their passing.
- Loss of future support and services.
- Loss of consortium (the deprivation of family benefits, such as affection, experienced by the deceased’s spouse).
- Loss of parental guidance, instruction, and companionship for children.
- Mental pain and suffering of surviving family
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of inheritance
How Are Losses Calculated for Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
To ensure that your family recovers the maximum possible damages, your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the case to understand your family’s situation. This way, they can calculate a fair and proper value for your claims that takes into account all the factors impacting your losses, such as:
- The accident’s circumstances: Was it painful? Was it caused by recklessness or malice?
- The age and situation of surviving family members: Are there young children? Are there any individuals with special needs who had been cared for by the deceased?
- The financial burden caused by the losses: Are there large medical bills from the accident? Was the victim the sole breadwinner of their family? Did they provide other services such as childcare or homeschooling for their children?
- The victim’s age, health, and life expectancy: Did they have a long, productive life ahead of them?
- The victim’s earning history and potential future gains: What is the total loss of the financial support they would have brought to their family over their lifetime? What kind of inheritance would their children have received if the accident had not happened?
How Can a Lawyer Assist You and Your Family?
Having a family member taken from you unexpectedly always brings grief, sadness, and disbelief. It can be difficult to contemplate the future after experiencing the loss of a loved one. You shouldn’t have to feel anxious about how you will provide for yourself and your family. Instead, those responsible for your losses need to be held accountable.
If you’ve lost a family member’s love and financial support due to wrongful death, Galimidi Law can provide you with compassionate legal help. Galimidi Law can administer all aspects of your claim, removing the stress and worry involved with handling court proceedings on your own. Your case will be thoroughly investigated and properly managed, so you can focus on grieving, healing, and moving forward with your family.
Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.