Losing a loved one due to the reckless or negligent actions of someone else is devastating. In addition to losing the emotional support you relied on, you may have lost your loved one’s financial support, as well. This can place your family’s future in jeopardy.
If you have recently lost a family member due to someone else’s actions, you should consider your legal right to file a wrongful death claim. With help from our experienced wrongful death compensation attorneys, you can pursue the compensation you need to cover your losses and hold the responsible party accountable.
How Our Law Firm Can Help You Pursue the Compensation You Deserve
Florida law defines a wrongful death as any death caused by the wrongful actions, negligence, breach of contract, or default of another person or entity. When this occurs, the estate of the deceased person can bring a legal claim against the responsible party. Common causes of wrongful deaths include auto accidents, medical malpractice, falls on dangerous property, and workplace accidents.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that could have been prevented, our wrongful death compensation lawyers in Gainesville can help by:
- Proving who should be held accountable – In order to collect any damages in a wrongful death claim, you will have to prove that the other party was at fault. Our team will work to gather extensive evidence to support your claim.
- Managing all the paperwork and deadlines – Wrongful death claims are lengthy, complicated matters. Plus, there is a two-year statute of limitations (or time limit) on most claims. Our attorneys can handle all the paperwork and keep your claim moving forward as you heal and grieve after your loved one’s death.
- Establishing an estate – Florida law requires wrongful death actions to be brought by a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. However, sometimes an estate may not have been set up before the person died. We can help you set up a legal estate so you can start the process of filing a wrongful death claim.
- Handling all communication related to your case – There is typically a lot of legal back-and-forth in wrongful death claims as you are dealing with the responsible party’s lawyer(s) and insurance representative(s). Our team can handle all the necessary communication for you during this difficult time.
- Negotiating aggressively on your behalf – Insurance companies may try to lowball or undervalue your claim. Our attorneys will fight for the full compensation you and your family are owed.
Compensation Awarded in a Wrongful Death Case
State law allows the families of wrongful death victims to recover compensation for multiple categories of losses, also known as damages. Potential damages available in a wrongful death claim include:
- Medical costs – You may be left with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills after your family member’s death. A wrongful death claim can help you recover damages for ER visits, hospital stays, surgeries, other procedures, prescription medication, and any other treatment your family member needed prior to his or her death.
- Funeral and burial expenses – The steep cost of a typical funeral and burial is not easy to take on after the untimely death of a loved one. These costs can add a significant financial burden to families that are already grieving. A wrongful death claim can help you recover compensation for these costs.
- Loss of support and services – Survivors may seek compensation for past and future loss of support and services, including income that the survivor would have received if the victim had lived.
- Loss of companionship and protection and mental pain and suffering – Losing a spouse takes a tremendous mental toll. It can lead to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Florida law allows spouses to seek compensation for this immeasurable loss that occurs from the date of injury.
- Loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and mental pain and suffering ─ Minor children younger than 25, and all children if there is no surviving spouse, may recover compensation for this loss, measured from the date of injury.
- Punitive damages – Punitive damages are awarded in rare cases where the responsible party acted in a particularly reckless or negligent manner. These damages do not relate to any specific loss from family members. Rather, the idea is to punish the offending actor and deter others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
How Is Wrongful Death Compensation Paid Out?
Most wrongful death claims are paid out by the insurance carrier of the responsible party through their liability coverage. If the responsible party does not have sufficient coverage to meet the value of the settlement, he or she may be personally responsible for paying any damages beyond what the insurance covers.
In many cases, the surviving family members will receive a lump-sum payment for their financial and emotional losses. In other instances, the compensation might take the form of a structured settlement. This is often paid out in monthly or yearly installments.
Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Taxable?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has generally ruled that compensatory damages in wrongful death claims are not taxable. Punitive damages related to wrongful death claims are sometimes taxable, though. You should talk to your attorney about specific tax questions when you are settling your case.
Who Can Be Awarded Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
State law says that the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents can all receive damages in a wrongful death case depending on the circumstances. Additionally, the law also says any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is wholly or partly dependent on the deceased for support can be awarded damages.
There is an exception for medical malpractice cases in that parents in those cases cannot recover damages for the deaths of adult children and adult children cannot recover for deaths of parents.
Talk to a Wrongful Death Compensation Lawyer Now
If someone else was to blame for your loved one’s death, you should learn about your legal right to demand justice. The compassionate wrongf`ul death compensation lawyers at Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., have more than 100 years of combined experience handling these kinds of cases. We have the skills and the resources to stand up for your family. Contact us now for your free consultation.