Understanding Wrongful Death in Florida
Wrongful Deaths impact families and loved ones of the deceased in serious and permanent ways. Here is what the legal term means and how it applies in legal terms to cases in Florida.
What is Wrongful Death?Wrongful death happens in part when a death is caused by a “wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract”. Whether or not the case is also tried separately as a felony, a civil Wrongful Death case can be brought whenever a case would have been considered a personal injury case had death not occurred and the circumstances and results would have been otherwise the same.
How does Wrongful Death Apply?According to statue (FS 768.16 The Wrongful Death Act), Florida law provides for the courts to “shift the losses” of the “survivors” of a Wrongful Death case to the “wrong doer”. Survivors are specifically defined in Florida law as the deceased’s spouse, recognized children, parents and in some cases also siblings and other blood relatives.
In the simplest application of the law, the wrongdoer may be liable for the financial loss (ie: loss of future income to the deceased’s dependents). This also includes indirect financial benefits that the law calls “net accumulations”. These are the interest and gains made from future savings, investments and other results of financial planning that the deceased would likely have made and would have benefitted the deceased’s dependents or his or her estate.
In addition to the direct financial costs of death, there are other costs that are not directly financial in nature but that could nevertheless make up part of the money awarded to the survivors in a Wrongful Death case. These are called “services and support” and include any child care, household upkeep and other similar tasks originally completed by the deceased that will now have to be outsourced. For example, an award may cover the financial impact of having to hire a nanny for childcare or a maid service for cleaning a house.
Final expenses are also included in the award amounts of most Wrongful Death cases. These include the direct costs of hospice care, funeral care and the creation of the deceased’s estate. All of these costs, along with pain and suffering caused to members of the family of the deceased combine to make Wrongful Death cases the most complex and high value of the case types in the Personal Injury practice area.
Therefore, it is important to know that South Florida Law does not discriminate against those who do not have the means to pay for legal representation. Survivors of a Wrongful Death pay us on a contingency basis only. If we do not win your case you do not owe us a dime.
Contingency FeeContingency means “no win, no fee”. At South Florida law, our fees for personal injury and Wrongful Death cases are subject to our contingency fee rule. This means that we only ever collect a fee from you if you receive financial compensation as a result of a settlement or court decision. In such cases, our legal fee is taken from your settlement amount or court award. If we do not win your Wrongful Death case, you do not owe us anything.
If someone in your family or a loved one has recently died in an accident, you may have a viable Wrongful Death case. While no amount of money can ever replace your loss, you may be able to sue to recover for your family’s collective pain, suffering, costs and lost income. It is important that you discuss taking legal action immediately. Call South Florida Law now on (954) 900-8885 and remember that you only pay us if we win your case.