Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a family member is always painful and challenging. The situation is made even more difficult when it results from the negligence of another party or entity. In the legal realm, this is referred to as a wrongful death. When placed in this difficult situation, survivors may not fully understand their options. They are often faced with significant hardships, including funeral costs, emotional struggles and a possible loss of financial support. The impact of these concerns can become overwhelming and the assistance of an experienced lawyer is valuable. Contact our Miami wrongful death lawyers for more information.
Wrongful Death in Florida
The state of Florida operates under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Under this law, specific survivors are allowed to file a negligence lawsuit against the responsible party. The Florida list of survivors includes:
- Surviving minor children;
- Surviving adult children with some exceptions;
- Surviving parents of a minor child; and
- Surviving parents of an adult child with some exceptions, when the child did not have a surviving spouse.
These are the only parties who may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible entity. However, there are numerous rules regarding the timing of the lawsuit. Generally, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death filing is two years from the date of the death. In cases where medical malpractice is the cause of death, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin until the cause of death is discovered. For example, if a party dies due to a physician’s negligence, the statute of limitations does not begin until the surviving parties learn about the negligent act.
An additional statute of limitations exception relates to deaths that result from intentional torts. If a party is found criminally responsible for the death, under a murder conviction in any degree, the statute of limitations does not apply. Therefore, the surviving family may institute a wrongful death suit at any time.
When representing a client in a wrongful death matter, an lawyer must prove all elements of the case, which includes:
- some conduct amounting to a wrongful act or negligence;
- a breach of duty to the decedent; and
- the conduct proximately caused the death.
Its important to note that these elements are not cut and dry. What constitutes wrongful conduct to one person is often viewed differently by another party. In addition, the levels of duty vary greatly. A doctor owes a high level of responsibility to a patient. On the other hand, perfect strangers owe a minimal duty to one another. Causation is another hurdle of proof because the alleged wrong behavior must be directly related to the death.
Once the elements are proven, the next challenge for the lawyer is determining proper damages. These amounts vary greatly, depending on the relation of the descendant to the survivors. Awarded damages may include burial expenses and medical bills. They may also include compensation for mental anguish, future loss of monetary support and loss of companionship.
Contact Our Miami Wrongful Death Lawyers for Help
The Miami wrongful death lawyers of Pita Weber & Del Prado are experienced in the litigation of wrongful death cases. Let us use our extensive knowledge to help you gain the monetary compensation you deserve. Contact 305-670-2889 today for a free consultation.