The tragic loss of a loved one is an unfathomable burden for anyone. And when the death occurs because of someone else’s negligence or misconduct, that burden can become even more difficult to manage. If you have lost a family member through wrongful death, it’s natural to want resolution and closure–especially in terms of compensation.
The good news is that families grieving a wrongful death do have several legal options available. You may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in which you may receive a substantial amount for wrongful death damages when a loved one’s death occurred. This article will cover who pays in a wrongful death suit, how damages are determined and collected, and answer other common questions related to it.
If your family member died due to wrongful death, be sure to get in touch with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. In Hollywood, Florida, schedule a free consultation with an attorney from Jared Spingarn’s law offices. Jared’s team of attorneys has handled many wrongful death lawsuits. They are prepared to represent you in wrongful death claims to help you recover compensation after a loved one’s death.
Causes of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death causes can vary, but they typically involve negligence or misconduct by an individual, product manufacturer, business, or other entity. While associated criminal cases are handled in a separate court from civil cases, the two proceedings often overlap in terms of evidence and details that must be collected and examined for either case to proceed. The primary sources of wrongful death are as follows:
1. Car Accidents
When another driver’s negligence or misconduct causes a motor vehicle accident, it may be grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This can happen when the driver was driving under the influence, driving recklessly or at excessive speeds, failing to obey traffic laws, or otherwise violating their duty of care in handling a motor vehicle.
2. Medical Malpractice
Malpractice is defined as any action taken by a medical provider—such as a doctor, nurse, hospital, or another healthcare professional—that falls below the accepted standards of practice in their field and results in injury or death. This can include a wrong diagnosis, errors in surgery, prescription drug misuse or abuse, and neglect.
3. Workplace Accidents
When an employer fails to provide a safe working environment or necessary safety training or equipment, the employee dies from injuries sustained on the job. Many wrongful death lawsuits also revolve around these types of accidents.
4. Negligent Supervision, Security, or Maintenance
In these cases, a property owner or other responsible party fails to supervise an area properly, provide adequate security, or maintain a safe environment, resulting in death. The victim’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit in this case as long as the supervisor, property owner, or other responsible party acted in a negligent manner.
5. Exposure to Toxic Substances
Wrongful death lawsuits may also be filed by the deceased’s personal representative when a person is exposed to toxic substances and sustains fatal injuries due to the complications resulting from the exposure.
Wrongful Death Settlement: How it Works
In a wrongful death suit, the deceased’s family is typically entitled to damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of income, funeral costs, medical bills related to the incident that led to the death, and other losses. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if it is determined that the defendant acted especially egregiously or recklessly.
A wrongful death settlement is a payment of damages negotiated between the parties involved in the lawsuit and their attorneys. Depending on the circumstances, these settlements may be reached before a court case even begins, while others may take months–or even years–to reach an agreement after litigation has commenced.
Both of these may involve protracted negotiations and difficult decisions. Once the settlement has been agreed upon, it is then submitted to the court for approval, and, if accepted, will be made final. The amount of money in a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on a variety of factors, including the age and earning potential of the deceased, their medical costs prior to death, funeral expenses, pain and suffering endured by the family members, and more.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney from the law firm of Jared Spingarn as soon as possible. They can review your case, explain the legal process and your rights, and help you seek justice for your loss.
Who pays for a wrongful death claim?
In a wrongful death case, the party responsible for the death is typically liable for damages. If an individual is found to be at fault, they will be personally liable for any settlement or judgment that comes from the lawsuit.
Multiple parties may be held responsible for a wrongful death claim. An insurance company typically represents defendants. In such cases, the insurance company pays out any settlement or judgment awarded to the family. In some instances, a government entity may be liable for wrongful death if it is determined they failed to take reasonable steps to protect citizens from harm.
In the event a defendant is unable to pay out a settlement or judgment, the family may be able to recover some damages from their own insurance policies. This will depend on the specifics of each particular case and the provisions in applicable insurance policies.
Dealing with an Insurance Company
It is important to be aware of any time limits, and procedural requirements set out by the insurance policy to maximize compensation. Additionally, it is also essential to know that insurance companies tend to be reluctant to pay a large sum of money in a wrongful death settlement.
Therefore, insurance companies will try to negotiate a settlement amount that is lower than what the family may be entitled to. It is advisable to seek legal counsel when dealing with insurance companies to ensure that any settlement they offer is fair and just. Be sure to speak with the wrongful death attorneys from the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn in Hollywood, Florida, to get the best legal representation you can.
What should I do if the at-fault party does not have insurance?
In cases where the defendant does not have insurance to cover the damages, it is still possible to pursue a wrongful death claim against them. In these instances, any compensation awarded will likely come from the defendant’s assets, rather than an insurance policy.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Florida is two years from the date of death. This means that a lawsuit must be filed within two years, or else the family will not be able to recover damages. It is important to note that this deadline may vary depending on specific circumstances and any other applicable laws.
Proving Wrongful Death Claims
To prove a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence or intentional misconduct caused the death of a family member. This includes showing that the death would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions and that their behavior was either negligent, reckless, or intentional.
The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the deceased would have been entitled to damages had they lived and that the surviving family members are suffering a loss due to their death. The best way to ensure that you will receive wrongful death settlements is to contact an attorney immediately after a family member’s death caused by a negligent party. Jared Spingarn is always ready to help and has extensive experience in handling wrongful death settlements.
How to file a wrongful death claim?
In the unfortunate event that a family member passes away in Florida, their personal representative needs to take legal action and file suit on behalf of the surviving relatives.
To begin the process, the personal representative must first submit a Petition for Wrongful Death to the court in which they are filing. This document is an official notice that a wrongful death claim is being filed against the defendant.
The Petition must include all relevant information regarding the deceased and their surviving family members and any evidence of negligence or intentional misconduct on the defendant’s part. This includes witness statements, medical reports, police reports, and other pertinent documents.
Once the Petition has been completed and submitted to the court, a copy of it must also be served to the defendant. Following this, both parties may proceed with settlement negotiations or go to trial.
Financial Outcomes From a Wrongful Death Settlement
Wrongful death damages may include compensation for economic and non-economic losses. Losses in a wrongful death case are typically measured by the value of what is lost. This includes the deceased’s potential future earnings and any medical and funeral expenses incurred due to their passing.
The compensation awarded will depend on several factors, including the degree of fault assigned to the defendant, their ability to pay, and any other applicable laws. In some cases, the court may also award punitive damages if they feel the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious.
How is compensation paid out?
The manner in which compensation is paid out will vary depending on the specifics of each case. In some instances, a lump sum payment may be awarded to the family. Alternatively, payments may be made over time as part of an annuity arrangement or structured settlement.
Who gets paid in a wrongful death case?
Any compensation that is awarded in a wrongful death case will typically be paid to the surviving family of the deceased such as their spouse, children, or parents. Other beneficiaries, such as close friends or extended family members, may also be eligible to receive compensation if they can prove they are financially dependent on the deceased.
How is financial remuneration divided after a wrongful death settlement?
A court-appointed trustee will typically determine the division of the settlement or judgment amount. Factors such as the relationships between surviving family members, any financial contributions made by the deceased, and other relevant details can affect how the amount is divided.
In most cases, the court will consider the age and health of each surviving family member and their need for financial support when dividing up the settlement or judgment. The amount awarded to each party can also be adjusted if it is deemed too low or excessive.
What about the deceased’s debts?
Any outstanding debts of the deceased will typically be deducted from any settlement or judgment. This includes credit card debt, medical bills, and other financial obligations. The remaining balance may then be distributed to the surviving family members as part of a wrongful death settlement.
Wrongful death settlements paid can help surviving family members after a loved one’s death with all the financial and emotional burden associated with the tremendous loss. By knowing who pays in a wrongful death suit, you can better understand how the financial remuneration will be divided and your legal rights in such a case. Additionally, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you maximize your compensation and ensure that any settlement or judgment is fair. Get in touch with Jared Spingarn today.
>> If someone you know got involved in an accident that resulted in a wrongful death in Florida, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jared Spingarn, Accident Attorney, at 1-954-781-2316 for a Free Case Review or drop a message on their Contact Us page.