As a top wrongful death lawyer Miami FL has to offer, we understand that losing a loved one due to the negligence of another can be devastating. While no jury verdict or sum of money can undo the terrible damage of a fatal injury, financial compensation could help support the victim’s family and assist during their time of grieving.
At Needle & Ellenberg, P.A., our lawyers have more than 50 years of combined experience helping families navigate the legal issues surrounding a wrongful death claim. Each Miami wrongful death lawyer at our firm is guided by years of experience and readily equipped with compassionate support and can help you to understand your legal options surrounding a wrongful death.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a victim is killed because of the carelessness, negligence, or recklessness of another party or parties, their loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those deemed responsible for the victim’s death. As a skilled wrongful death lawyer Miami FL provides may explain, family members who file the claim need to prove that they have been harmed by their loved one’s death. Under Florida law, the victim’s spouse, children, parents, or any blood relative or a sibling who was adopted and was “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services” may be able to file a claim.
Examples of cases where wrongful death claims can be filed include fatal motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice cases, death from a defective or dangerous product, and in situations where the victim was intentionally killed.
It is important to note: If you have lost a loved one but are unsure if you want to file a wrongful death claim, you should still talk to a wrongful death lawyer Miami FL families rely on. Florida’s statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim against someone is only two years from the date the victim died. If you try to file once that date has passed, the court will likely dismiss your claim.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Miami FL Trusts Prove Wrongful Death?
Once a wrongful death lawyer in Miami FL determines that your loved one did die because of the actions of another party, and that the statute of limitations has not expired, he or she can begin to take the legal steps to file a wrongful death claim against that party. In the lawsuit, the victim’s family or representative is referred to as the plaintiff(s) and the party who caused the death is referred to as the defendant(s).
Under Florida tort law, in order to prove that the defendant named in the wrongful death lawsuit caused the victim’s death, a wrongful death lawyer Miami FL families count on must prove that there were certain elements present at the time of the accident or incident which prove the defendant’s action or behavior resulted in the victim’s death. These elements include:
Negligence: The evidence presented by the plaintiff must prove that the victim’s death was caused – either in whole or in part – by the carelessness, negligence, or recklessness actions or behavior of the defendant.
Breach of Duty: The evidence presented must also show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim and that duty was breached. For example, in the case of a fatal car crash where the defendant was driving drunk, a wrongful death lawyer Miami offers can show the court that the defendant breached his or her duty by getting behind the wheel of the vehicle after drinking. When the state issues a driver’s license, motorists accept that they now have a duty of follow all traffic laws and to drive safely.
Causation: Once the breach of duty is proven, the evidence must then prove that the action of the defendant caused the victim’s death. In the drunk driving example, it could be shown that had the defendant not been drinking, there would not have been an accident and the victim would still be alive.
Damages: After the other three elements have been proven, then the plaintiff must prove the damages they have suffered, such as medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, loss of benefits, mental anguish, and loss of companionship.
Your wrongful death lawyer Miami FL can explain that whether or not there have been criminal charges brought against the defendant, you can still file a wrongful death claim in civil court. These two justice systems are completely separate from each other and even if charges are not filed, are dropped, or the defendant is found not guilty in criminal court, he or she can still be found liable in civil court and ordered to pay wrongful death damages to the victim’s family.
What Damages May Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim?
A seasoned wrongful death lawyer Miami FL clients trust understands that no amount of money will ever make up for the tragic loss of a loved one. However, A Miami wrongful death lawyer also knows that the unexpected death of a loved one can leave a family financially devastated. Not only may there be the immediate costs to deal with, but many families also often face the loss of the victim’s income, especially if the victim was the parent of young children.
A wrongful death lawyer Miami FL victims’ families rely on can discuss in detail the types of damages that your family may be able to collect based on your particular case. Generally, the damages sought and awarded in wrongful death claims can include the following:
- Medical expenses associated with any medical treatments performed on the victim after they were injured. These expenses can include ambulance service, emergency room care, surgeries, intensive care, or any other medical costs that were incurred as a result of the incident that caused the victim’s death.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss if the victim’s income, including both present and future loss. Anticipated future earnings (up to retirement) may also be calculated and awarded as damages.
- Loss of any benefits the victim provided for his or her family, including health insurance and pension plans.
- Loss of consortium the victim’s survivors have suffered. This includes the care, companionship, and protection that children, spouses, or partners have suffered because of the victim’s death.
- Mental and emotional anguish survivors have suffered due to the victim’s death.
In some wrongful death lawsuits, there may be punitive damages awarded to the victim’s family. Punitive damages are additional and separate from the actual damages that are awarded. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded as a way of punishing the at-fault party when their actions are seen as being egregiously negligent or cruel.
How a Miami FL Wrongful Death Lawyer May Build a Case
Wrongful death claims involve a complex process, made more complicated by the heightened level of emotion and sense of loss affecting everyone involved.
Each wrongful death lawyer Miami FL can trust at our law firm is dedicated to helping our clients pursue their rights under the law. We understand how overwhelmed and hurt your family may feel, and we are committed to giving you the personal attention and care you deserve. A skilled wrongful death lawyer Miami FL residents depend on from our team can discuss realistic expectations regarding the outcome of a case so clients can better understand their rights and what the future may hold for them.
A wrongful death lawyer Miami FL residents recommend is aware that wrongful death claims have different restrictions based on how the death occurred. Medical malpractice claims are viewed differently under the law than product liability, general liability, and motor vehicle accident claims. When an injury occurs as a result of a work-related accident, there could be even more factors affecting the outcome of a claim. An experienced wrongful death lawyer Miami FL offers can navigate these complexities and help underline realistic expectations depending on the relevant factors.
Contact a Local Wrongful Death Lawyer in Miami FL
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or recklessness of another party or parties, a wrongful death lawyer in Miami, FL understands that your family has not only suffered a devastating personal loss, but that you may also be struggling with overwhelming financial losses as well.
The skilled attorneys at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A., have more than five decades of combined experience aggressively advocating for victims and their families and will fight to get the compensation that your family deserves for the loss of your loved one. Based in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, clients residing in communities throughout Florida know they can come to us for a top wrongful death lawyer Miami FL deserves.
If you would like to find out more about how a top wrongful death lawyer Miami FL can provide could help you obtain the damages your family deserves, call our law firm at (305) 530-0000 or email us today.