No matter how much we plan in life, everyone faces unexpected consequences. The passing of a loved one or enduring a particular injury pressures people to look for assistance in the hopes to bring closure from the unforeseen event. Our team at Suarez & Montero understands the burden of unforeseen events, therefore, we will try to help any victim overcome these unfortunate events.
It is important to consider an action when analyzing the devastating damages incurred by these events. These events can have a drastic effect on your life, so the negligence of those at fault for these events should be a reason to file a claim against those at fault. It is important to consult with our legal team in order to file your claim for compensation and assess its true value and the justice that it deserves. Our goal is to file your claim, and assess its financial value and reach the justice and expectation that you believe that your claim deserves.
Our team at Law Offices of Suarez and Montero will also assist and represent you for the following:
- Brain And Spinal Cord Injuries
- Defective Products
- Prescription Errors
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Wrongful Death
If you are Florida resident and you would like to file a wrongful death law suit following the death of a loved one, it may seem impossible to place a number value on your loved one’s life. However, that is precisely what the court and ultimately the jury may have to decide in a wrongful death case. There are many different factors that guide this determination. For instance, it is logical to understand that the prospective earning potential of an elderly person is for the most part less
than someone who is much younger and is just entering the workforce. In sharp contrast, when a child dies, it is particularly hard to figure out what a child’s earning potential over their lifespan would turn out to be. As a result, where a wrongful death case involves children, damage awards tend to be much less due to the difficulty in determining earning potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death suit is a type of lawsuit presented to a party believed to have caused a death due to their negligence or an intentional act. In the state of Florida, there are several types of accidents that can lead to wrongful death lawsuits, some of the most common being: construction accidents, motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, and slip and fall injuries. The Florida Wrongful Death Act creates a cause of action for wrongful death for certain parties that are designated as beneficiaries. The Act provides that when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act of negligence, breach of contract or warranty, then the person that would have been liable if death had not followed will be responsible. In Florida, the purpose of the law is to allow survivors to recover for their losses in the event they lose a loved one.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A Survivor under Florida law may include the decedent’s spouse, minor children, parents, and, when dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relative or adoptive brothers and sisters, including the illegitimate child of a mother. However, a person claiming as a dependent who does not fall within one of the above categories does not count as a survivor. To qualify as a survivor, you must actually be dependent upon the decedent, either wholly or partially. Even a child born after the death of a parent is still considered a survivor under the Wrongful Death Act. But as stated above, adult children of the decedent are not survivors under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Therefore, in a wrongful death action, the personal representative of a father’s estate is not entitled to make a claim for the loss of parental companionship on behalf of an adult child where the mother, injured in same accident but who died after the father, under the Wrongful Death was a surviving spouse. However, an adult decedent’s estate may recover lost net accumulations where the decedent is survived only by parents who were not dependent upon the decedent for support or services, and who are not otherwise entitled to recover damages for the decedent’s death in their own right. A requirement in the Wrongful Death Act that an adult decedent leave no survivors in order for the estate to recover net accumulations refers only to those survivors who are provided with a remedy elsewhere in the statute.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the following relatives to file a wrongful death claim:
• Dependent blood relatives
• Dependent adoptive siblings
• Children born out of wedlock to a mother
• Children born out of wedlock to a father (if it can be shown that the father accepted
responsibility for the child)
If you File a Wrongful Death Claim, what kind of damages may I recover?
• Funeral or burial arrangements
• Medical care and hospital expenses
• Loss of financial support and allowances
• Loss of companionship, training and guidance
• Pain and suffering of the family members
• Pain and suffering of the deceased
What About Lost Earnings? Are those Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act awards economic damage from lost earnings through two components: lost net accumulations from the decedent’s estate and lost support to the decedent’s survivors. Double recoveries are not allowed. Only the part of lost earnings which could have been saved and kept by the estate at the end of the expected life expectancy of the deceased is recoverable. Passive income and interest on investments which continue after death are not included because they continue to accrue. Factors juries might consider when assessing losses from those elements include the following: the decedent’s skills, age, health, earnings and saving and spending habits. If you are a beneficiary of an estate, the net accumulations may include the decedent’s spouse and lineal descendants and, if the decedent was not a minor (which is less than 25 years of age in Florida), the decedent’s parents.
Do I need to Hire an Expert or Economist to Prove Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
There is no requirement in Florida that a Plaintiff must provide testimony from an economist to recover damages in a wrongful death case. However, there have been some instances where courts in Florida have overturned awards of damages because there was not enough evidence provided by plaintiffs to allow the jury to accurately calculate damages. It is always a good idea to provide as much evidence and proof of your case as possible to have a better outcome in your case. All in all, it definitely helps but the usefulness will depend on the specific facts of your case. Some damages are fairly simple to calculate. For example, to determine the costs for medical treatment and funeral services portion of damages is pretty straightforward. If you decide to retain an expert or economist, they only need to obtain documents that prove the expenses to the court. Often this portion of the damages is not even included in the financial expert’s calculations since counsel may choose to have a medical expert address and testify to the costs. The lost household services component, while not as simple, is also pretty easy to figure out. Probably the most disputable component of the damages arises in wrongful death cases involves calculating the lost net earnings for the decedent.
It is important to keep in mind the distinction between wrongful death cases and personal injury cases in Florida in relation to lost earnings. Wrongful death cases are governed by the Wrongful Death Act and related statutes, while there are no statutes that specifically address damages
sought in personal injury cases. Case law is the applicable resource for guidance in personal injury cases. One particularly significant distinction between damages in wrongful death cases and injury cases is in the determination of earnings.
We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:
Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami,
Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.
Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.