Who Is Entitled to Wrongful Death Benefits in Florida?
A serious injury from a car crash, fall, or other such event is not just difficult for victims to endure. Loved ones feel the effects as well. The injury disrupts their lives just as badly, but in different ways. If the victim does not survive, the financial and emotional wounds are even harder to endure. Florida’s wrongful death statute helps survivors get the compensation they need to pay death-related expenses as well as compensation for non-economic damages like lost milestones.
This law, and the financial rights it conveys, is just ink on paper unless a Pompano Beach personal injury attorney enforces it. Most of these enforcement actions settle out of court. We understand how much survivors have endured, and we want to avoid an emotional showdown if possible. So, if the negligent party is willing to pay fair compensation, we will review that offer with our client along with their options so they can make the best decision for their family. That said, if taking a wrongful death claim to court is what it takes to help you, we won’t shy away.
Types of Wrongful Death Accidents
Unintentional poisonings, mostly drug overdoses, and vehicle collisions are usually atop the list of injury-related deaths in Florida. Human error causes about 95 percent of the fatal accidents in the Sunshine State. This error is usually either driver impairment, like driving under the influence of alcohol, or an operational error, like excessive speed.
Falls are usually right behind these two causes. Older people and other victims with pre-existing conditions are especially vulnerable to these injuries.
Typically, property owners, like grocery store owners, have a duty to keep shoppers, employees, and other visitors physically safe. The extent of the duty varies, usually depending on the relationship between the owner and victim.
Medical negligence, such as medical misdiagnosis, is also deadly in many cases. Cancer misdiagnosis is a good example. If doctors promptly identify cancer and treat it properly, the survival rate is rather high. But if doctors misdiagnose cancer or do not react properly, the survival rate is very low.
The decedent’s legal representative, who is normally a spouse, may file a wrongful death claim in Florida. If the decedent didn’t designate a person, the judge will appoint someone, usually the spouse.
Generally, the legal representative must file a damages claim within two years of the decedent’s death. The death date is often different from the injury date. Certain claims, such as dangerous drug claims, are even more complex. Many times, survivors don’t learn about the connection between a dangerous drug and a loved one’s death until after the deceased passed. These survivors usually still have legal options.
For the most part, a wrongful death claim is like any other personal injury claim. The available damages are perhaps the biggest exception. Wrongful death claimants are entitled to pecuniary losses, a category which includes:
- Medical bills, lost wages, and other economic losses related to the decedent’s final illness or injury
- Lost future emotional support to survivors
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost future financial support (if the claimant was dependent on the decedent or under age 25)
Many of these damages, such as lost future financial support, are difficult to calculate. Attorneys often partner with accountants and other financial professionals to determine fair compensation in these situations.
Survivors may also be entitled to compensation for their own suffering and grief, under a separate theory like negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Learn More by Giving Us a Call
Wrongful death survivors are entitled to compensation and justice. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Pompano Beach contact Goldman & Daszkal, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Broward County and nearby jurisdictions.