When faced with the heartbreaking loss of a loved one due to wrongful death in Florida, understanding your legal rights and the compensation available can be a crucial step in your journey toward closure and justice. Wrongful death cases in Florida are governed by specific statutes that outline who can file a claim and what damages may be recoverable. It’s a complex area of law, but gaining knowledge about it can be empowering in such difficult times.
At McPherson & Thomas, we understand the emotional toll these situations take on families. With our expertise in Florida’s wrongful death statute, we are dedicated to helping you navigate these challenging legalities. Our commitment is to provide personal service and to ensure that justice is served for your tragic loss with the compassion and respect you deserve.
Understanding the Basics of Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
A wrongful death claim arises when an individual dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another party. In Florida, these claims are intended to compensate the survivors for their losses. The first step is identifying who can file a wrongful death claim. According to Florida law, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate must file the claim. This representative, often outlined in the deceased’s will, acts on behalf of the surviving family members and the estate.
The scope of these claims is broad, covering various scenarios from car accidents to medical malpractice. It’s essential to recognize that a wrongful death claim is separate from criminal charges. Even if the responsible party faces no criminal charges, a civil claim can still be pursued. Time is also a critical factor. Florida law stipulates a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, generally two years from the date of death, making it vital to seek legal advice promptly.
Types of Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims
The heart of a wrongful death claim in Florida lies in the damages that can be recovered. These damages are divided into two categories: those awarded to the estate of the deceased and those awarded to the surviving family members. The estate may recover lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including what the deceased could reasonably have been expected to save and leave as part of their estate if they had lived. Additionally, the estate can recover medical and funeral expenses paid by the estate.
For the surviving family members, compensation includes the value of support and services the deceased provided, along with loss of companionship, guidance, and protection. Spouses may also recover for the loss of companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering. Minor children, and all children if there is no surviving spouse, can also recover damages for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering. Parents of a deceased minor child, or an adult child if there are no other survivors, can recover compensation for mental pain and suffering.
Calculating Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Calculating damages in a wrongful death claim can be complex. It involves not only tangible losses like income and medical expenses but also intangible losses like pain and suffering. Courts consider various factors, including the age, character, and condition of the decedent, their earning capacity, life expectancy, health and intelligence, and the circumstances of the claimants. The calculation of these damages often requires expert testimony and a deep understanding of both economic and non-economic factors.
The role of a skilled attorney in these cases cannot be overstated. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help in accurately valuing the claim, negotiating with insurance companies, and if necessary, litigating the case in court. It’s about ensuring that the full extent of your loss is recognized and compensated in a way that honors the life and contribution of your loved one.
Why Choose McPherson & Thomas for Your Wrongful Death Claim?
Choosing McPherson & Thomas for your wrongful death claim means opting for a team that believes in personal service and dedicated representation. We understand that no amount of money can ever replace your loved one, but it can provide a measure of justice and financial security for the future. Our approach is not about volume; it’s about providing one-to-one service that respects your unique situation and tirelessly seeks the compensation you deserve.
Our legal team, led by attorneys with extensive experience and a deep understanding of Florida’s wrongful death laws, is ready to guide you through this complex process. We offer a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, with no fees unless we win your case. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us help you in this challenging time. Reach out to us at (727) 848-8892 or through our contact form. Your path toward closure and justice begins with a conversation, and we are here to listen and support you every step of the way.