The unexpected death of a loved one can leave you and your family reeling from shock and pain, and while mourning, your main focus should be on healing and remembering happy times with your loved one. The last thing you want to do is spend time dredging up painful memories of his or her death. However, Kaiser Romanello recommends that you and your family consult with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as feasible in order to preserve your claim to justice. A wrongful death lawsuit can provide compensation to cover the pain and suffering your loved one endured. It can also supply your family with financial support, the same financial support that your loved one would have provided.
The experienced South Florida wrongful death attorneys at Kaiser Romanello understand how trying and traumatic a sudden death can be for your family. It is our goal to make a wrongful death lawsuit as painless as possible. We will handle all aspects of your lawsuit, from filing a complaint to negotiating with the defendant to arguing your case in court so that you can focus on what’s important. For years, Kaiser Romanello has fought for the rights of grieving families in high stakes wrongful death claims. We know when to play nice and negotiate and when to go full steam ahead and zealously advocate for justice during a trial. Kaiser Romanello is headquartered in Parkland, Florida and serves personal injury and wrongful death clients in Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, and all other South Florida areas. To schedule a free initial consultation on your possible wrongful death claim, contact Kaiser Romanello at now.
THE FLORIDA WRONGFUL DEATH ACT
The Florida Wrongful Death Act, codified at 768.16 of the Florida Statutes, is part of the chapter on negligence. According to the language of the statute, it is sound public policy to shift the losses caused by the unexpected death of a loved one from the survivors to the individual who caused the death.
A death is eligible under the Florida Wrongful Death Act when:
- The death is caused by either a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty;”
- The victim would have been able to sue under personal injury laws had he or she survived; and
- The defendant would have been liable for damages had the victim survived.
A personal injury lawsuit cannot be filed simultaneously as a wrongful death lawsuit.
Only survivors with a legally cognizable probate interest in the decedent’s estate are permitted to sue on behalf of the loved one. “Decedent” is the legal term for a deceased person. The Florida Wrongful Death Act defines “survivors” as:
- Blood relatives
- Adoptive brothers and sisters
Spouses, children, and parents have first rights to compensation. However, other relatives may also file a lawsuit if they were either partially or totally dependent on the victim for services or support. Services include providing housing accommodations or care for the relative. Support includes financial support.
Usually the personal representative or estate administrator files the wrongful death action on behalf of the survivors. The complaint will identify each survivor seeking compensation and their relationship to the victim.
TYPES OF DAMAGES
Damages depend on several factors, including the type of relationship between the victim and the relative. A damages award will usually identify each beneficiary and state the amount of damages awarded to that beneficiary. Common Florida wrongful death damages include:
- Lost support and services: The value of past lost support and services can be recovered from the date of injury to the time of death. In addition, future lost support and services can be calculated based on (1) the relationship, (2) the amount of the victim’s income that would have gone to that relative, and (3) the replacement value of any services rendered to the relative.
- Lost companionship: The surviving spouse can receive damages from the emotional distress caused by the loss of companionship.
- Lost parental companionship: Minor children and any non-minor children if no surviving spouse can recover pain and suffering for lost companionship and instruction.
- Pain and suffering: Parents of the children can also recover pain and suffering.
- Medical expenses from the time of injury to the time of death
- Funeral expenses
If the estate recovers lost wages, medical bills or funeral expenses, the award amount to the estate can be reduced by creditors’ interests, if any, in the estate.
COMPASSIONATE AND AGGRESSIVE FLORIDA WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS READY TO EVALUATE YOUR CASE
If you believe you have a valid wrongful death claim following the untimely death of a loved one, Kaiser Romanello can review your case, explain legal concepts, help you understand your options, and pursue your best interests in court. To arrange a free case consultation on your wrongful death claims, contact our Parkland, Florida wrongful death office.