Miami Wrongful Death Attorney
Very few events can affect us like the loss of a loved one. When their death is the result of another person’s negligent behavior, it becomes even harder to accept. While there is really no way to compensate for the loss of a life, family members of the deceased can attempt to have a secure financial future through a wrongful death claim.
Why Choose Us as Your Lawyer
As you grieve for a loved one, it can be difficult to handle all the complex legal matters that go into a Miami wrongful death case. Trust our attorneys to handle your case with the attention and respect that it deserves. Our attorneys only handle a limited number of cases at a time, so that they can give their personal and focused attention to each one of our clients. Our law firm:
- Has not lost a case since the foundation of our firm.
- Only handles personal injury and wrongful death cases, and our focused and intimate knowledge of these laws can give you the best chance of receiving maximum compensation.
- Takes on difficult cases that other law firms won’t.
No matter the circumstances of your Miami wrongful death case, our attorneys are ready to help you protect your legal rights after the death of a loved one. Schedule a free consultation to evaluate your claim.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of the legal fault of another person. If an accident occurs, leads to a person’s death, and is due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, then the surviving family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death cases are civil claims, and they occur separately from any criminal trial related to the accident. If there is a criminal lawsuit related to the death, the defendant does not need a conviction to still be liable in a wrongful death lawsuit. Verdicts and evidence presented in a criminal lawsuit can play a role in the civil case.
Wrongful Death Statistics
Fatalities can occur in almost any type of accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were over 146,000 unintentional injury deaths during 2015. Over 37,000 of those deaths were due to motor vehicle accidents, over 47,478 were due to unintentional poisoning, and over 33,000 were from unintentional falls. While not all these accidents qualified as wrongful death cases, many were the fault of other parties.
Aside from other types of accidents, medical malpractice cases can also lead to the wrongful death of patients. According to a study by John Hopkins patient safety experts, nearly ten percent of all U.S. deaths are due to medical errors, making it the third highest cause of death in the U.S.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
As long as another party is responsible for the accident, a wrongful death claim may apply to any type of incident. Some of the most common types of accidents that lead to death are:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Product liability cases
- Accidental poisoning
- Workplace accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
Criminal actions, such as murder, can also constitute grounds for wrongful death claims. The best way to determine if your case is eligible for compensation is to consult with an experienced attorney.
Wrongful Death Laws in Miami
Under Florida law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s will may name the personal representative; if one has not been named, then the court will appoint a personal representative, who may then file the claim. The statute of limitations for filing is two years from the date of death.
While the representative is filing the claim, the deceased’s family and estate can receive compensation. If the personal representative is not a relative of the deceased, then that individual may not recover damages for him or herself. Family members that can recover compensation from a wrongful death claim are:
- The deceased’s spouse, children, and parents
- Other blood relatives or adopted siblings who are dependent on the deceased
When children are born to unmarried parents, they can always recover damages if their mother dies. However, if a child’s father dies, the child may only recover damages if the father had recognized the child as his and had an obligation to support the child.
Who Is Liable?
Many parties can potentially be liable in a wrongful death claim. To prove liability, you must be able to show that:
- The responsible party had a duty of care to the deceased
- The responsible party breached that duty by acting negligently or recklessly
- Those actions led to the death
For example, in a car accident, the plaintiff would need to establish that the other driver had a duty to follow the rules of the road. Because the defendant did not follow those rules, such as by speeding, the accident occurred, which caused an injury that led to death. If the driver’s speeding didn’t cause the accident, and it was instead because of a vehicle malfunction, then the manufacturer may be liable for the death instead.
It is possible for multiple parties to be at fault for a wrongful death claim. For example, the liable parties in medical malpractice death could be:
- Any medical professionals who handle the case
- Drug and instrument manufacturers
- The hospital or medical institution
An attorney can evaluate your case and investigate to properly determine fault for the loss of your loved one.
What Damages Can I Recover?
The unique circumstances of your wrongful death claim will determine the exact amount of compensation you can recover. Many categories of damages can come into play during these lawsuits, including:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills for treatment given to injuries that led to the deceased’s death
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death
- Lost wages based on the expected earnings of the deceased if the untimely death had not occurred
- Loss of consortium to cover emotional damages of the surviving family members
- Punitive damages to potentially punish the defendant for the behavior that led to the death
While financial damages like funeral expenses and medical bills can be easy to find concrete numbers for, calculating the potential income of the deceased can be much harder. Finding fair values for emotional damages is also difficult. A lawyer can help you correctly evaluate the damages that relate to your case.
The Miami lawyers at our firm recognize that there is no financial equivalent to a loved one’s life, but you still have a right to fair compensation. With our experience in Miami wrongful death law, we will not only work to determine the appropriate value of your claim, but we will also fight for your case in court.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer?
While it’s possible to represent your own wrongful death claim, it can be emotionally trying to handle the complex legal matters while still mourning the loss of your loved one. Wrongful death cases involve many elements, from determining the liable party to presenting proof in court. There is no substitute for experience when it comes to protecting your rights, and a skilled attorney will be able to help you file your claim in accordance with the statute of limitations and navigate the unique aspects of your case to develop a winning strategy.
No matter who the responsible parties are in your wrongful death case, they will likely not head into court without any support. Whether it’s a motorist’s insurance company or the representative of a large hospital, you deserve the same degree of professional representation. Working with a lawyer will put you on equal legal ground in the courtroom, providing critical support during an emotionally taxing time.
Contact Us Today
No one deserves to experience the untimely death of a loved one, no matter the cause. We understand the difficulty of handling your wrongful death claim yourself immediately following a tragic loss. At Flanagan P.A. Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Law Firm, our lawyers are always ready to support your claim with the compassion and expertise you deserve. We’ll stand by you, from the moment you schedule your free consultation all the way to the successful resolution of your case.
We do everything in our power to protect the rights of Miami families following the death of their loved ones. Trust the attorneys who specialize in wrongful death claims.