If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your bereavement. Losing a family member is never easy, but a sudden death in an automobile accident can make the situation even more challenging. At Cohn & Smith, our dedicated injury attorneys understand that this is a difficult time for a family in Pembroke Pines or elsewhere in the region. We will make every effort to pursue the compensation you deserve. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, financial assistance can help with the unexpected costs that arise before and after death.Filing a Wrongful Death Claim to Seek Compensation
The Wrongful Death Act of Florida is designed to compensate survivors of a deceased person for their losses. Under the statute, these people include:
- The decedent's spouse;
- The decedent’s children;
- The decedent’s parents; and
- The decedent’s adoptive brothers and sisters, blood relations, and any individual who was wholly or partly dependent on the decedent.
The personal representative of the estate will typically bring the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the survivors. If there is a will that names a personal representative, the named person can move forward with the lawsuit. However, if the decedent did not leave a will, the court can appoint someone who will represent the best interests of the estate.
A wrongful death case arises when an individual’s death is caused by the misconduct or negligence of any person. Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, an individual can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party when a death results from any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” It is important to note that this includes intentional acts as well as non-intentional acts.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is much shorter than a personal injury claim. Under Florida law, a personal injury case must be filed within four years of the date of the accident. A wrongful death claim, by contrast, must be filed within two years from the date of the death. This means it is imperative to act quickly.
There are a variety of damages that the relatives of the deceased person can be compensated for under the Wrongful Death Act. These may include medical expenses incurred prior to the death, burial and funeral expenses, loss of income, loss of support and services, property damages, and more. Additionally, a surviving spouse of the decedent can recover damages for loss of companionship and protection as well as pain and suffering. The decedent’s minor child may claim compensation for losing parental companionship, guidance, or instruction.
The damages determination is a complicated one that takes the decedent’s circumstances into account. For example, one relevant factor will be if the decedent was the primary wage earner. Other factors that may be considered include the decedent’s earnings at the time of the death, the last known earnings if the decedent was unemployed, and potential future earnings.Explore Your Options After an Accident in Hollywood with a Skilled Pembroke Pines Wrongful Death Attorney
At Cohn & Smith, our accident lawyers can help residents of Hollywood and other cities throughout South Florida pursue a wrongful death claim. We have assisted countless clients in asserting the right to compensation for the loss of their loved ones. We can investigate the facts of your case and come up with a strategy for your situation. To learn more about your legal rights, contact us online or call our Pembroke Pines Wrongful Death Attorneys at 954-431-8100. We proudly represent clients from communities such as Weston, Sunrise, and Tamarac.