Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer
There is nothing more traumatic or painful than losing a loved one unexpectedly. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, we at Freidin Brown, P.A. are here for you during this difficult time. Our Miami wrongful death lawyers can help you file a wrongful death claim against the responsible individual or party. You and your family should not have to face financial duress as a result of someone else’s negligence.
Filing a wrongful death claim may lead to the recovery of damages for:
- Funeral or burial arrangements
- Medical care and hospital expenses
- Loss of financial support and allowances
- Loss of companionship, training and guidance
- Pain and suffering of the family members
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
Our Florida wrongful death lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We work hard in every case to help our clients recover maximum compensation. As skilled trial lawyers, we are ready and willing to take a case to court if we believe that it will benefit our client. Backed by ten decades of collective experience, our firm has a solid track record of legal excellence. Contact us at 888-677-7764 to discuss your case during a FREE consultation.
Understanding the Basic Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
Under Florida law, wrongful death occurs when a person or entity’s negligence, recklessness, or deliberate wrongdoing results in a fatal accident, injury, or condition. In other words, it means that a person’s failure to act reasonably or prudently has resulted in a preventable fatality. In order to establish that the death resulted from negligence, the victim’s family must be able to prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased, and that a breach of this duty was the proximate cause of the victim’s death.
Who Qualifies as a “Survivor” in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In the state of Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This person will either be named in the decedent’s will or appointed by a judge if no will exists. This person would be responsible for bringing the wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries and/or the “survivors” of the person who has died.
Family members who may be entitled to damages include:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- The deceased person’s children
- The deceased person’s parents
- Financially dependent siblings
Unlike personal injury claims, which have a four-year statute of limitations, wrongful death actions must be brought within two years of the person’s death. If you fail to take action before the statute of limitations expires, you would lose your chance to recover any level of compensation. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you contact an lawyer at Freidin Brown, P.A. today.
Florida Wrongful Death FAQs
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil legal actions that are designed to hold a person or an entity accountable for causing another’s death through negligent, wrongful, or intentional acts. In general terms, wrongful death cases function similarly to personal injury lawsuits in that they seek justice and financial compensation for incidents and damages that could and should have been prevented. One way to understand these cases is to view them as personal injury claims where the victim is no longer able to bring legal action on their one. Instead, another party will need to bring the wrongful death action.
What do you need to prove in a wrongful death case?
Wrongful death cases can involve a range of unique facts and circumstances, but generally focus on a few important legal concepts and the need to prove fault and liability. In order to prevail, the following general elements must be proven:
- A legal duty existed – A wrongful death lawsuit will only have merit if there was sometype of legal duty between the defendant and the decedent. This means the defendant owed the victim a “duty of care” to take reasonable steps that would prevent them from suffering harm. This “duty of care” can exist in many ways depending on the circumstances. For example, doctors have a duty to treat patients in accordance to accepted standards and guidelines. Additionally, motorists have a duty to take reasonable steps in safely operating their vehicles.
- The legal duty was breached – Families bringing wrongful death suits must further prove that a legal duty owed to the decedent was breached by the defendant. This simply means the defendant failed to uphold their legal obligations, such as when a doctor provides below-standard care in treating the decedent, or when a motorist violates their duty to safely operate a vehicle by driving under the influence or running a red light. Breaching a legal duty typically arises from negligence, but it may also involve intentional acts of violence or misconduct.
- Causation – Proving causation is one of the most important elements of a wrongful death action, and it requires families to show that a defendant more likely than not caused the victim’s death. To prove this element, claims must be supported by strong arguments and evidence, and often times expert testimony. Such an example would include showing how a doctor’s mistake constituted substandard care, and how that mistake more likely than not caused death. One way of explaining causation is to say “but for” the wrongful or negligent conduct, the injury or death would not have occurred.
- Damages – Wrongful death lawsuits are ultimately intended to help surviving family members secure justice for their losses, as well as a financial recovery of their damages. Because losing a loved one can cause many profound emotional and financial losses, wrongful death cases typically allow for the recovery of economic and non-economic damages, such as medical expenses incurred prior to death, funeral expenses, lost financial support, loss of emotional support or consortium, and other financial or emotional injuries. The damages a family can recover is specifically explained in the Florida Statutes, and they can be very difficult to determine given the intricacies and fact patterns of each particular case. If you think you might have a case, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer so that we can explain to you all your rights and what you may be entitled to recover as damages.
Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
Under Florida law, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate must bring a wrongful death action. This personal representative may be someone named in the decedent’s will, or someone who represents the estate’s beneficiaries or survivors. This representative often brings the claim on behalf of surviving family members, including a decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or other financially dependent beneficiaries. The personal representative can be a family member, including a surviving spouse or child, or it can be anyone else selected by the survivors. At Freidin Brown, P.A., we guide our clients through the entire process of naming a personal representative.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Generally, surviving families and representatives typically have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, that time limit or “statute of limitations” may be different in certain cases, such as those involving misdiagnosed illnesses or claims against government entities. Because the statute of limitations may vary, and because these cases require much time and investigation before a lawyer can file a lawsuit, it is important that families contact a proven and experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
What happens if there is a criminal case involved?
In some cases, defendants who may be liable for another’s death may face criminal charges, such as in the case of a fatal drunk driving accident. It is important to remember that even when criminal cases are involved, they are handled in separate proceedings in criminal court, focus on whether or not a person is guilty of a crime, and use a different burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt). They do not focus on financial liability for the death, and are not a viable source of compensation for surviving family members. As such, families would need to pursue wrongful death actions in civil court, which uses a lower burden of proof (a preponderance of the evidence or “more likely than not”) to determine if a person is financially responsible for another’s death and resulting damages.
Because criminal and civil actions arising from incidents involving death are separate and distinct matters, the outcome of one does not always indicate the outcome of the other. Even if no criminal charges are filed or if defendants are found not guilty in criminal court, they may still be held civilly liable in a wrongful death suit. For example, in the case of O.J. Simpson, he was found not guilty in his criminal case, but he was held liable in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the families in civil court.
Do I need a lawyer?
You are never required by law to have a lawyer when bringing legal action against an at-fault party. But pro se litigants are rarely successful when up against other lawyers and insurance companies. This is why an experienced lawyer on your side makes all the difference. Lawyers who handle wrongful death lawsuits, like ours at Freidin Brown, P.A., know how to deal with complex and confusing legal proceedings while being respectful and understanding to our clients who may still be recovering from the shock of losing a loved one. This is why we do all we can to handle the challenging legal work on behalf of our clients, which can require extensive experience, resources, and even professional connections if experts must be used. When you depend on having a h3 case to secure the justice and compensation your family deserves, there is no substitute to enlisting the help of legal professionals. In addition, wrongful death cases can be extremely expensive. When you retain Freidin Brown, P.A., we will pay for all litigation costs and we will only be reimbursed if and when a recovery is made. If no recovery is made, nothing is owed to us. That’s our promise to you.
Florida Wrongful Death Video FAQs
What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim?
The statute of limitations in Florida for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death, but it’s really important to contact a lawyer right away, because a lot goes into the filing of a law suit for a wrongful death. So it’s important to give your law firm as much time as possible to do the research, due diligence and investigation before filing your claim.
What kinds of damages are recoverable in a Florida wrongful death claim?
In a wrongful death claim, the damages are first and foremost economic damages, if there’s loss of support because someone was supporting a family, if there’s loss of net accumulations, if there was an amount of money that would have been inherited, if there’s economic losses such as medical bills. Then the most important part of any wrongful death case is basically the loss of comfort, the relationship, the pain and suffering of losing a parent or a child. Things like that.
Will it cost me any money to bring a Florida wrongful death case?
It won’t cost our clients any money to bring a Florida wrongful death case, or a malpractice case, or any other case. Because we always charge a contingency fee based on the recovery only, and no client ever pays anything out of pocket.
Have You Suffered the Loss of a Loved One? Freidin Brown, P.A. Is Here to Help.
Always caring and professional, our legal team can provide you with the attentive legal services you need and deserve at this time. While we understand that taking legal action will not change the past, we believe that in doing so, you and your family may obtain some closure. In addition, taking legal action may help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The Florida wrongful death lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. handle all wrongful death claims on a contingency basis, which means that you won’t pay any up-front or out-of-pocket fees to retain our services. In fact, you won’t pay us a cent unless we recover compensation on your behalf. We also start each case with a free initial consultation, so you would have nothing to lose by contacting our firm today. Call 888-677-7764 to discuss your case with an experienced Miami wrongful death lawyer.