Wrongful Death Lawyer in Miami
Get Help from a Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer
When someone dies due to the careless, reckless, or negligent actions or inactions of another, it could be a wrongful death under Florida Statute 768.19 . Sometimes a wrongful death is caused after days, weeks, or months of agony before succumbing to injuries. Other times a wrongful death is instant but tragically witnessed by other family members. In either situation, wrongful deaths can severely impact a family because of the physical and emotional distress, especially if the lost loved one was financially supporting the family. Whenever a family has lost a loved one due to the outright negligent actions of another, ask our Miami wrongful death lawyer to investigate what happened to determine if you have rights under Florida law.
Families who have lost a loved one due to a wrongful death may be entitled to recover financial compensation against the negligent person, company, state agency, or other entity who caused the death of their loved one. Here at Schlacter Law, our wrongful death lawyer knows just how hard it is for an entire family who unexpectedly lost someone due to reckless or careless acts of another. Our compassionate staff and experienced Miami wrongful death lawyer will help lift these heavy burdens off of your family and onto our shoulders so you can focus on healing. We will fight back to ensure your loved one’s rights under Florida law are protected and you get the compensation you deserve.
Damages in a Miami Wrongful Death Case
Under the law, “damages” is what a party to a lawsuit could be entitled to. The damages in a Florida wrongful death case are monetary in nature. This is because nothing can bring back a loved one, but the law understands some form of monetary damages could help support the family the way their loved one would have.
Damages are governed by Florida Statute section 768.21 which outlines the types of damages that a lawyer may obtain for a victim’s family . Individuals who may be entitled to damages under the statute are referred to as “survivors” and are generally broken down between spouses, children, and the estate. The most common damages that a family may be entitled to with help from an accidental death lawyer include the following:
- Each Survivor may recover the value of support and services the deceased person would have provided to the family (such as house chores, helping with the children, services to a dependent parent or other family member) and the replacement value for those services
- Surviving Spouse of the decedent may recover loss of companionship, consortium, and protection by the deceased person, as well as mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury
- Minor Children of the decedent, or all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental compensation, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury
- Each Parent of a deceased minor child may recover mental pain and suffering from the date of injury
- Anyone who paid medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent’s injury or death may be reimbursed for such expenses
- The Estate of the Deceased may recover loss of earnings from the date of injury to the date of death. The estate may also recover loss of future lost earnings. An accidental death lawyer may need to have a personal representative of the estate appointed to recover this for the family
Who Can Commence a Wrongful Death Action in Florida?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death action. A person needs to have “standing,” or the ability to bring a case because he or she is aggrieved under the law. Generally, a personal representative is the individual who may commence an accidental death action with a lawyer. This individual may have been appointed in the deceased person’s will or in the estate plan. However, if there are no personal representatives a Miami lawyer may have to petition a court to appoint a personal representative.
Generally, the individuals who have priority to become a personal representative include the spouse, children, and parents. If there are none available or willing to serve, a court may consider other individuals such as other family members, caretakers, or individuals with a close relationship to the deceased.
What is a Wrongful Death? Accidental Death Lawyer Explains
Under Florida law, a wrongful death is defined under Florida Statute section 768.19 as “[w]hen the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person . . . and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued” .
Not every death caused in Florida constitutes a wrongful death. In order to establish a claim under Florida law, your lawyer will have to demonstrate the following:
- Conduct causing the death constituted some form of negligence
- The negligent conduct caused the death of the victim
- Had the victim not passed away, the victim would have been able to maintain an action against the negligent party or parties
Each of these elements must be proven by a lawyer. In addition, it must be proven that the actions of the party or parties causing the wrongful death were negligent. Generally, there are two ways to prove negligence. The first way is through the common law standard (judge-made law) which has four elements. These elements are a 1) duty, 2) breach of that duty, and 3) the breach of that duty causes 4) damages. The duty of care required is that all individuals act as a reasonably prudent person to avoid unnecessary risk and harm to others.
The second way to prove negligence is through violation of a statute. A statute is enacted by the Legislature. Under the doctrine of negligence per se, when a defendant violates a statute and harms a victim who is supposed to be protected by that violated statute, the defendant could be found automatically negligent. An example our Miami lawyer shares is when a person is speeding and causes a motor vehicle crash. Florida speed limit laws are intended to promote order on the roads and to prevent people from being injured in auto accidents. If someone is speeding and causes a Miami car accident that hurts another person, that defendant could be found to be automatically negligent by virtue of violating the statute.
Types of Wrongful Deaths
Our wrongful death lawyer knows that there are many different ways that negligent action or inactions could result in the accidental or untimely loss of a loved one. The most common causes include the following:
Medical Malpractice Including Birth Injuries
According to sources, the third leading cause in the United States are preventable medical errors . This is a shocking revelation that healthcare professionals deputized with healing us are actually causing our wrongful deaths. It is estimated that up to 440,000 people each year die due to preventable medical errors. Many medical malpractice cases resulting in catastrophic injury or loss of a loved one are difficult to prove, especially without a lawyer. This is because many healthcare providers will actually hide behind their mistakes and claim a death was due to a natural risk or complication of a procedure.
Some of the most common instances of medical malpractice resulting in the accidental loss of life include the following:
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Birth injuries
- Failure to diagnose cancer
- Failure to diagnose a heart attack
- Failure to diagnose a stroke
- Infections and sepsis, including causing or failing to diagnose
- Delays in c-sections
- Failure to address a hypoxic injury in a newborn
- Medication overdoses
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- PCA pain pump malfunctions
- Other common causes to see a Miami medical malpractice lawyer
Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car Accidents, Motorcycle Crashes, and Trucking Wrecks
While only the 13th highest cause of death , motor vehicle accidents still cause almost 35,000 deaths each year which is about 96 deaths each day . Florida roadways account for a lot of these deaths, including being the deadliest state for motorcycle accidents in the United States . Our motor vehicle accident lawyer knows that accidental deaths on Florida roadways are common and can be proven through common-law negligence or negligence per se.
Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents include the following:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Drunk driving or drugged driving
- Jackknifed truck or truck rollover
- Failure to yield
- Aggressive driving
- Improper lane change
- Unsafe left turn, and many other common causes to ask a lawyer for help
Workplace accidents are always possible, but construction site accidents are usually more dangerous and more likely to be fatal. This is due to the fact that construction is inherently dangerous when it comes to using heavy machinery, large vehicles, and working with unstable materials or structures. Some of the most common causes of fatal construction site accidents include the following:
- Falls from a height
- Falling debris
- Construction truck crashes, including flipping over
- Crashing accidents
- Crane accidents
- Chemical exposure
- Other causes to ask a lawyer for a free case review
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Action in Florida?
Anytime a loved one may have been killed due to the negligence of another person, company, a state agency, or other entity, always contact a Miami wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Our lawyer knows that this is very difficult to do after the loss of a loved one. However, Florida law has set up specific time periods to file a lawsuiit. This time period is known as the statute of limitations. If you try to file a lawsuit outside of the statute of limitations period, your lawsuit may be automatically dismissed by a court.
For a wrongful death action in Florida, the statute of limitations is prescribed by Florida Statute section 95.11 which requires a lawsuit to be filed within two years of the date of death . There are some ways that this may be extended or “tolled,” but best practice is to always consult with a lawyer within the two years and preferably as soon as you feel it is possible. It is also important to realize that this time period may be shorter in certain instances, including against state agencies or municipalities.
Fight Back With Schlacter if a Loved One is Wrongfully Killed Due to the Negligence or Another
Anytime a family loses a loved one due to the reckless or careless acts of another, it is important to fight back and protect the family’s rights under Florida law. Our Miami wrongful death lawyer offers a FREE consultation to families by dialing (305) 999-1111 and, if we accept your case, we will conduct a free investigation to help fight for your rights to compensation. This includes retaining medical experts, liability experts, economists, and vocational experts to prove your family’s damages caused by the unexpected loss of a loved one.
- http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.19.html ↩
- http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.21.html ↩
- https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/medical-errors-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-america.html ↩
- https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812499 ↩
- https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812580 ↩
- https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812785 ↩
- http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0095/Sections/0095.11.html ↩
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can we recover for a wrongful death if our loved one may have partially caused the fatal accident?
Yes, a family may still be entitled to recover compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one if the loved one may have partially caused the accident. Florida is a comparative fault state, meaning that the recovery for a personal injury victim is reduced proportionally by his or her fault. If a person is 30% at fault for the fatal accident, his or her award may be reduced by 30%.
Can a defendant’s inactions constitute negligence in causing a fatal accident?
Generally, yes. A defendant’s inactions may be used to prove a wrongful death when the defendant had a duty of care. A doctor who fails to diagnose cancer or a heart attack may have caused a wrongful death due to the doctor’s negligent inaction. It is important to always ask a Miami lawyer if a person’s inactions may have caused a fatal accident.
How much does a wrongful death lawyer cost in Florida?
Like other types of personal injury lawyers, a wrongful death lawyer may agree to take a cause on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that a lawyer will only take a fee if he recovers compensation for the family through a settlement or award. This percentage is usually between 33.33% to 40%. A party may also be liable to the lawyer for costs and disbursements, but it is general practice that these fees are not paid unless the lawyer recovers compensation for the family.