Wrongful Death Claims in Miami
Have you recently lost a loved one to an accident in Florida? Our Miami wrongful death attorneys at Bernstein and Maryanoff know this is a difficult and overwhelming time for you and your family. We want to help you seek justice on behalf of your loved one and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
For more information please see our Wrongful Death FAQ page.
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Experiencing the tragic loss of a loved one after a catastrophic accident caused by another is very difficult to face. Not only will you and your family be grieving their loss, but there will also be long-term effects on your life that you may not be currently considering.
No matter how much you are hurting, you must be aware of the financial impacts your loved one’s loss can have. You can face medical bills, funeral expenses, and long-term impacts, such as loss of income, outstanding debts, loss of companionship, and long-term pain and suffering.
At Bernstein & Maryanoff, our wrongful death lawyers are here to assist you and your family. We fully understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one. Our goal is to ensure you and your family receive the monetary compensation you deserve. As such, you can be financially secure and have one less thing to worry about as you grieve and recover.
Wrongful Death Claim Process
Wrongful death claims can occur in two different ways. Either your loved one could have sustained severe personal trauma and succumbed to their injuries after time, or they could have died due to immediately fatal injuries.
To initiate a wrongful death claim, you must meet the following conditions:
- The deceased was an immediate family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent, including adopted family members.
- If the survivor is not an immediate family member, they must have been primarily supported by the deceased.
- Their death was the result of negligence caused by another.
- The survivors will experience personal and financial difficulties due to the loss.
An exception also allows the deceased’s estate to initiate the wrongful death claim process. In addition, you will need to provide supporting evidence that indicates the other party was entirely or primarily at fault for your loved one’s death.
Do you have questions about filing a wrongful death claim? Get the legal advice you need to make informed decisions with a free consultation from our Miami wrongful death lawyers today.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
It can be challenging to navigate the complex processes to ensure you get a fair settlement or monetary award should your case go to trial. To file a wrongful death lawsuit, you first need to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Our Miami accidental death lawyers will meet with you for a free consultation in a convenient location, even your home. Our goal is to listen to the events that took place, provide sound legal advice, and make recommendations on how you should proceed.
Specific steps will occur if you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim and want to proceed with a lawsuit. Most importantly, remember there is a statute of limitations of two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file your claim.
Step 1: Gather Evidence
Your legal team will gather evidence to support your claim. This evidence could include accident and injury reports, police reports, and medical records. Furthermore, forensic evidence could be collected, and witnesses contacted to provide statements. You may initially be asked to provide general information to help with this investigation; however, your legal team wants you to take the time to grieve your loss and be with your family.
Step 2: Submit a Demand Package
After the investigation is completed, your lawyers will prepare a demand package. This package will include evidence and documentation to support your wrongful death claim. It will also include a wrongful death settlement request for the amount of monetary compensation you are entitled to receive.
The demand package is sent to the responsible party’s insurance company or legal team. Once they receive it, they will review it and make a determination. At this point, one of several things can occur. They could accept the settlement offer, or they could make a counteroffer. In rare situations, they may attempt to deny culpability.
Step 3: Negotiate
Should the responsible party choose not to accept the demand package and submit a counteroffer, your lawyers will begin the negotiation process. The process continues until all parties agree upon a monetary amount. You have the final say on whether to accept the settlement offer or proceed with the lawsuit and go to trial.
Step 4: Reach a Settlement
Suppose the responsible party accepts the demand package or a wrongful death settlement is reached through negotiation. At this point, your lawyers will review with you the terms and conditions of the settlement. If you agree, you will sign the legal paperwork, and your claim is settled.
Step 5: Go to Trial
In the event a settlement cannot be reached during negotiations, or the responsible party denies culpability, or you do not like the settlement being offered, your case would proceed, and a trial date would be set.
Until a verdict is reached, a settlement could still be reached. If it is, then both legal teams appear in front of the judge and inform the court that a settlement was reached and your case is closed. Otherwise, the trial proceeds until the judge or a jury reaches a verdict.
How long do wrongful death claims take in Florida?
The amount of time needed to reach a wrongful death settlement or verdict in court will vary. There is no set time frame because each wrongful death lawsuit has unique circumstances and impacts on the surviving family.
If the claim can be resolved and a settlement reached, it could range from a few months up to 18 months. If a settlement is not reached and the case proceeds to trial, it could take a year to three years to resolve fully.
It is worth mentioning that the majority of wrongful death lawsuits are settled and never go to trial. It cannot be stressed enough that you should pursue legal action if you have grounds and evidence to support your wrongful death claim.
In the long run, you and your family will be better off financially, even if it takes some time to resolve your case. Your lawyer can also discuss with you the various resources you can rely on as well to help you financially and emotionally.
Wrongful Death FAQs
In this section, we answer some of the frequently asked questions our accidental death lawyers receive. If you do not see your question or answer, do not hesitate to contact our Miami law office directly.
What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is when a person dies as a result of an accident caused by another person or party. The death could occur immediately or after experiencing severe injuries. Since the actions or inactions of the party resulted in death, the immediate surviving family can seek monetary compensation as allowed under civil laws.
How are wrongful death settlements paid out?
Wrongful death settlements are usually paid through a check issued to yourself and your lawyer. However, the settlement could also be structured, especially when minors are involved, where a portion of the settlement is placed into a trust and funds distributed at set intervals until they reach a certain age.
Any legal fees, outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses, and other outstanding debts incurred during the case are paid and deducted from the proceeds you receive. Furthermore, when there are multiple qualifying beneficiaries, the court will approve the amount of the fund distributed to each person as required by Florida law statutes 768.22 and 768.25.
How much can you sue for in wrongful death?
In Florida, there are no caps on the amount you can sue for in a wrongful death lawsuit. Your claim can include compensatory damages as detailed in Florida law statute 768.21, such as loss of income, financial losses, and loss of companionship. In some instances, where the responsible party’s actions are deemed grossly negligent and egregious, you could also be entitled to receive punitive damages.
Due to the loss of life, wrongful death settlements and verdicts can range from the high tens of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. The amount you are entitled to receive will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. Your lawyer will let you know how much compensation you could receive during your initial consultation.
What is Florida’s Wrongful Death Act?
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act allows the victim’s immediate family to seek compensation for the loss of life as defined in Florida law statute 768.19. This Act allows the surviving party to recover damages when the deceased would have been entitled to seek damages for personal injuries had they not died.
How do I file a wrongful death claim in Florida?
Filing a wrongful death claim in Florida requires the assistance of an experienced accidental death lawyer. It is never recommended and highly discouraged to attempt to negotiate directly with the responsible party’s insurance company, adjuster, or lawyers.
No matter how compassionate and caring these individuals may seem, you must remember that their primary and only goal is to get you to settle for the least amount of money possible. Far too often, surviving family members who do not get legal representation end up with paltry settlements and learn they were entitled to receive a far greater amount later.
Wrongful Death Settlement Lawyers in Miami
Filing a wrongful death claim is complex and requires experienced lawyers familiar with Florida wrongful death laws. If you have further questions or want to find out if you can file a wrongful death claim, do not hesitate to contact one of our accidental death lawyers in Miami at Bernstein & Maryanoff. Our lawyers also work on a contingency basis, which means we do not collect any legal fees unless we reach a settlement or favorable verdict.
When you lose a parent, spouse, or child as the result of the negligent actions of another, you can be entitled to seek monetary damages for your loss. Request a free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers today.
FLA. STAT. § 768.19. (2022).
FLA. STAT. § 768.21. (2022).
FLA. STAT. § 768.22. (2022).
FLA. STAT. § 768.25. (2022).
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case is when a death occurs because of the intentional or negligent act of another person or entity. It is a case based on the fact that the victim should not have died. The person passes away because the responsible party did not act as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. As a result, the victim’s next of kin can bring a wrongful death case to claim compensation and hold the wrongdoer accountable for their negligence.
Remember, a wrongful death case doesn’t have to be based on intentional actions. Simple negligence is enough to hold a wrongdoer accountable. The purpose of the case is to provide financial compensation as a measure of justice for the accident and the terrible harm that resulted.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death can be the result of any accident. Types of wrongful death cases may include deaths that occurred due to:
- Car accidents
- Rideshare accidents, including Uber and Lyft accidents
- Crashes that involve commercial drivers, like truck drivers
- Motorcycle accidents
- Unsecured loads on the roadways
- Products liability, failure to warn consumers of dangers that come with the use of a product
- Property hazards, including premises liability like slip and falls
- Being struck by or stuck in between heavy equipment
- Other types of construction accidents
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals
A wrongful death may occur because of a single, acute injury. It may also occur because of chronic exposure to danger. Our Miami personal injury attorneys can investigate the circumstances surrounding your family member’s death to see whether you can claim compensation.
Who Has the Right to Sue for Wrongful Death?
After losing a loved one in an accident, you may be wondering what you can do to fight for justice on your family member’s behalf. Any of the following parties may have the right to sue for wrongful death in Miami:
- Another blood relative who depended on the victim for support or services
Who can sue for wrongful death depends on what family survives the victim and the state law that applies to the claim. Be sure to ask for an individual evaluation of the claim to determine who has the right to sue for wrongful death in your case. Our Miami wrongful death lawyers can help you take the right steps in order to get financial compensation for your loss.
What Damages Can I Collect in a Wrongful Death Claim?
To calculate a wrongful death settlement, think of how your family has suffered because of losing your loved one. Some of your losses are financial, while others are mental and emotional. Your life is changed forever in an instant. All of these types of damages are devastating and worthy of compensation. Here are some examples of losses that you may include when you calculate a wrongful death settlement:
- Medical bills of the victim
- Final expenses for the victim
- Lost income that the victim would have contributed to the family
- Compensation for services that the victim used to provide for the family, like household tasks and caring for children
- Loss of access to future benefits like a pension
- Additional compensation for loss of a loved one including companionship, health and guidance
- Compensation for the loss of life and enjoyment of life
Once you identify the categories of losses, the next step is valuing those damages. Some losses are economic, while some are non-economic. Economic losses can be totaled by looking at receipts and the actual expenses that the family suffers. Non-economic damages are more complicated to calculate. However, all wrongful death cases result in extreme suffering and losses for the victim and their family. A wrongful death attorney can make sure that your case represents all of the damages that your family suffers.
Who Pays for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Who pays for a wrongful death lawsuit is the person or party who causes the accident to occur. To determine who pays, look at whose actions cause the accident. The person who brings about the accident based on the same personal injury laws applicable in all cases is the person who pays for the accident. A party like a business or company can be responsible for paying for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Remember, there may be more than one party who is responsible for paying a wrongful death lawsuit. Also, there may be an insurance policy that can step in and provide compensation to ensure that the family receives the financial payment they deserve. Naming the appropriate parties in your claim is very important. A Miami wrongful death attorney can ensure your rights are protected as you determine who to name in your wrongful death case.
What Is Florida’s Wrongful Death Law?
Florida’s wrongful death law is Florida law 768.19. The law says that there is a legal cause of action when a death is due to negligence. The right to sue is based on the same circumstances in which victims would have been able to sue if they had not passed away from their injuries.
In addition to this law, Florida law 95.11(4)(d) creates a two-year statute of limitations to bring a legal claim for wrongful death. This is shorter than the typical four-year limit that applies in most personal injury cases. However, some exceptions can extend the time limit in certain circumstances.
Why Choose Bernstein & Maryanoff?
Since 1983, we’ve been fighting for accident victims. Our founding partners, Jack Bernstein and Neil Maryanoff, are proud graduates of the University of Miami. With over 75 years of legal experience combined, our leaders have the expertise and passion for getting results. Together, they’ve won millions of verdicts for deserving accident victims and served as the leading voice for Florida families who need help after an accident.
The Bernstein & Maryanoff team is a carefully crafted group of attorneys and legal professionals who know how to get results. And there’s always a friendly and understanding voice ready to answer your questions and help you understand each step. We’re proud of the way that we help accident victims. We invite you to meet with our legal team to explore how we can help you, too.
No-Obligation Consultation With Our Miami Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you suddenly lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence and are unsure where to turn, you’re not alone. The Miami wrongful death attorneys at Bernstein & Maryanoff want to help you seek justice. See why we’re Florida’s trusted leader for wrongful death claims. Contact our team to schedule a free and confidential consultation with our compassionate attorneys today.
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Bernstein & Maryanoff do their best to make sure you get the maximum compensation for your injuries. Please call us before you speak to an insurance company.
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