What Is An Action For Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death action is a statutory right to sue given to the surviving family members of a deceased family member. In order to bring a wrongful death action, a death must have been caused by the wrongful, negligent, careless, or reckless act of a person, company or municipality. The Florida Wrongful Death Statute was adopted so that the family members of a deceased can bring the legal action that the deceased would have brought, had death not ensued.
In other words, if the injured party is alive, then a wrongful action does not exist and only the injured party may sue. The Law Offices of Schiller, Kessler & Gomez has successfully represented hundreds of families in wrongful death lawsuits against corporations, nursing homes, individuals and municipalities.
What Damages May Be Recovered In a Wrongful Death Case?
Under Florida law, a family suing for Wrongful Death may recover the following damages:
Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor may be considered.
The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
Minor children of the decedent, and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
How Can A Family Initiate A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Prior to initiating any lawsuit or claim against a potential defendant, The Law Office of Schiller, Kessler & Gomez must perform a factual investigation. We encourage our clients to provide us with as much information as possible about the accident that caused the death of a loved one. Listed below are some things you can do in order to resolve a wrongful death case in your favor. If you do not already have any of the information listed below, we will obtain it for you.
- Provide us with information about any Life Insurance Policies, purchase by or on behalf of the deceased.
- We will need the names and contact information of all family member survivors.
- Do not discuss your case or accept any forms of compensation from the entity that you believe caused the death of your loved one.
- We will obtain copies of any accident reports that may have been taken at the time the accident occurred.
- We will obtain copies of any hospital and medical reports that were taken after the accident.
- Obtain the names and phone numbers of any people that may have witnessed the accident.
- Save any photographs you may have of the accident scene.
- Save any pieces of clothing that your loved one was wearing at the time of the accident.
- Obtain a certificate verifying the exact date of death. Most wrongful death cases may only be initiated within two (2) years of the date of death.
- Inform of us any other individuals that have suffered death for the same reasons as your loved one.
- If you are working with an Estate attorney, please provide us with your Estate attorney’s contact information. If you do not currently have an Estate attorney, we can provide you with one.