Wrongful Death Settlements in Florida
This article attempts to explain the factors that influence the amount that families of deceased accident victims can recover in a Florida wrongful death settlement.
If a loved one has been killed due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit. If you aren’t sure whether you have a wrongful death claim, you may be questioning whether to see an attorney. The truth is, an experienced attorney can always help assess your situation to see what recovery may be possible.
If you do have a wrongful death claim, you may wish to better understand wrongful death lawsuit settlements. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about wrongful death settlements in Florida.
Is There an Average Wrongful Death Settlement?
Although you may wish to know what to expect in this uncertain time by examining average wrongful death settlement amounts, the truth is there is no such thing.
Wrongful death settlements depend on the facts of the specific case. The circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death may be incredibly different from someone else’s.
This makes it extremely challenging to come up with any average wrongful death settlement.
It’s therefore incredibly important to discuss your potential wrongful death claim with an experienced attorney as soon as you can.
Example Wrongful Death Settlements That We Have Achieved
Although there may not be an average wrongful death settlement, at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk we are honored to have achieved substantial wrongful death settlements and verdicts for our clients over our 30 years in practice.
In one case, a jury awarded our clients, the surviving spouse and children of a wrongful death victim, $34,697,465. We’ve also achieved recoveries of $15,310,000 (jury verdict), $11,500,000 (jury verdict), and $11,000,000 (jury verdict) for our clients in wrongful death cases based on product liability claims.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The surviving family members of a person killed by another party’s negligence can bring a wrongful death claim in Florida. The person who passed away is called the “decedent” under the law. The family members of the decedent, or deceased, need to be related to them in a specific way or have had a particular dependency relationship with them to recover.
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, the following surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim:
- Blood relatives who were dependent on the person who passed away
- Adoptive brothers or sisters who were dependent on the person who passed away
- A child born out of wedlock, if their mother passed away
- A child born out of wedlock if their father passed away, only if it can be established that the father had taken responsibility for supporting the child
What Factors Most Impact the Value of a Wrongful Death Settlement?
The goal of financial compensation in a wrongful death claim is to shift the losses that the family experiences to the person who caused the death. In other words, in the eyes of the law, the surviving family members should not bear the losses of their loved one’s death. The person who negligently caused the death should be financially responsible.
To avoid going to trial, the party that caused the wrongful death may offer a settlement amount. The settlement amount should take into account the same factors that the court would take into account if the case went to trial. If the case settles, the family members of the wrongful death victim agree to drop their lawsuit.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the value of someone’s lost life.
In Florida, there are several factors that may help the surviving family members decide what is fair. Compensation in a wrongful death case may take into account the following:
- How old your loved one was when they passed away
- The amount of money your loved one was making at the time of death
- Future potential earnings of your loved one
- Lost benefits, such as health insurance or a pension
- Medical expenses incurred before your loved one’s death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost spousal companionship
- Loss of parental guidance
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering before their death
- The circumstances of any family members that were dependent on your loved one
Compensation in a wrongful death case will not just be an estimate based on nothing. It will be based on the factors listed above and potentially also additional financial damages.
Why Are Wrongful Death Settlements Often Larger Than Other Personal Injury Claims?
Wrongful death cases often involve very significant damages to the family of the person that passed away. Although other personal injury cases can also involve significant damages, wrongful death settlements tend to be larger because of the loss of life. The family’s financial expenses alone tend to be quite large.
However, wrongful death cases also take into account the loss of support and future economic benefits you experienced from the loss of your loved one.
Why is It Critical for Wrongful Death Plaintiffs to Hire a Lawyer?
An attorney is essential in a wrongful death suit. Although finding an attorney may be the last thing you’re thinking of when your loved one passes away, finding the right one can significantly impact your legal recovery.
An attorney who specializes in wrongful death thoroughly understands the legal process. Your attorney will know precisely how to build a case on your behalf. When litigating, there are strict deadlines to meet and specific documents that need to be filed. An experienced attorney knows the process inside and out.
Hiring an attorney can also help you better understand the value of your claim. Someone that practices in this area can give you an idea of what type of compensation to expect.
While you may be grieving the death of your loved one, your attorney will be fighting on your behalf, making sure you get the best recovery possible. This will allow you to focus on time with your family as you all heal.
Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney to Assist in Your Claim
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, contact one of our experienced attorneys as soon as you can. We can be there to help support and guide you through this difficult time, as well as build the best case possible.