Untimely death is a tragedy no one should have to face, regardless of the circumstances. Suppose a family member died due to someone else’s wrongful actions. In that case, it can be an even greater burden for surviving family members who may wish to bring them justice and financial recompense—which raises the question: who pays in a wrongful death suit?
This article will reveal the complexities of filing a wrongful death claim, including how one is determined and who would be responsible for compensatory damages. It will answer the question of who pays for a wrongful death claim and how an experienced lawyer can help. If you are dealing with a wrongful death claim in Hollywood, Florida, be sure to get in touch with the team of Jared Spingarn. Jared’s team of attorneys can represent you in a claim or lawsuit to ensure that you will receive the wrongful death benefits you are entitled to.
What is a wrongful death suit?
Wrongful death suits arise when someone’s negligent or intentional actions result in the passing of another person. This includes workplace accidents, medical malpractice, vehicular negligence, or criminal activity.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the defendant is seen as responsible for “taking” another person’s life and, thus, must be held accountable in some way. As such, it falls upon the court to decide whether to award damages to survivors of the deceased.
Determining Liability in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
To determine liability in wrongful death claims, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant is responsible for causing their loved one’s death. This requires proving that the defendant acted negligently or with intent to cause harm and proving it to be a direct cause of death.
Each wrongful death case is different. Different factors come into play, which your attorney from Jared’s law firm will look into closely before you file a wrongful death lawsuit. Having an attorney by your side will help ensure that the negligent party will be held liable for your loved one’s death.
Who pays for wrongful death compensation?
You are entitled to receive compensation from the liable party in a wrongful death lawsuit. In any wrongful death case, the liable party will be determined by whose negligence caused the death to occur. The compensation awarded in wrongful death suits depends on various factors. Still, it typically includes medical expenses related to end-of-life care, burial costs, and a sum to cover survivors’ economic and emotional losses. The following are the typical circumstances surrounding a wrongful death case:
The employer can be sued for negligent actions that caused or contributed to an employee’s fatality. The company may also be held legally responsible and liable for damages.
Hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers may be held liable if they are found to have acted negligently or recklessly in treating the deceased.
The driver of a car, truck, or motorcycle can be held liable for any wrongful death caused by their negligence.
Manufacturers and sellers of a defective product can be held liable for damages if the product caused or contributed to an individual’s death.
A criminal act such as murder or manslaughter may also result in a wrongful death suit. If the perpetrator is found guilty, they may be held liable to pay damages to the deceased’s family.
Financial Settlement from the Insurance Company
If the defendant is insured, the insurance company may cover some of the damages in a wrongful death suit. In some cases, such as vehicular accidents or medical malpractice claims, obtaining a financial settlement from an insurance company might be possible without going through court proceedings.
However, it is important to remember that insurance companies may not offer you a fair settlement. Their ultimate goal is to maximize their profit, so they may attempt to offer the lowest possible amount of compensation, or in the worst cases, they will even deny liability. In such cases, it is best to seek legal assistance and take them to court. The wrongful death lawyers from Jared Spingarn’s law firm in Hollywood, Florida, are experienced in speaking to insurance companies and fighting for your rights.
Claimable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case in Hollywood, Florida
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the court may award damages to survivors. This includes compensatory and non-economic damages; punitive damages may be awarded in some cases. Wrongful death damages may include any of the following:
- Loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided to their family.
- Loss of companionship and emotional support, including loss of love, comfort, guidance, protection, and other familial relationships.
- Funeral costs and medical bills.
- Mental anguish experienced by the surviving family members.
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before their death.
- Loss of inheritance or benefits that the deceased would have received in the future.
- Other related costs such as legal fees, court costs, etc.
It is important to note that punitive damages may also be awarded if it can be proven that the defendant acted with intentional or reckless disregard for the life of the deceased.
Who can file wrongful death lawsuits in Florida?
In Florida, the decedent’s personal representative must file a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative is usually a family member or a close relative who has been appointed to handle the deceased’s estate and affairs. The personal representative can then file a claim on behalf of the spouse, children, parents, or other surviving family members who have suffered a financial loss due to the death of their loved one.
Beneficiaries of a Wrongful Death Settlement
Beneficiaries of a wrongful death settlement are usually the decedent’s spouse, children, or other immediate family members who have suffered financially because of the death. In Florida, surviving spouses and minor children are usually entitled to a larger portion of the settlement than other beneficiaries. The amount each beneficiary will receive depends on the particular circumstances of the case and the damages incurred by each family member.
Beyond the immediate family members, business partners can even be granted damages if they prove the death caused them to incur a financial loss. A fiancé, a distant relative, or even an acquaintance can claim their share as beneficiary if they demonstrate financial dependence on the deceased individual.
How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a difficult and emotionally taxing experience but it is important to remember that you are entitled to seek justice after losing a loved one. The following are the typical steps to follow in wrongful death lawsuits:
- Contact a wrongful death attorney from the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A., in Florida.
- Collect evidence relevant to the case, such as medical records, police reports, and witness statements.
- File a claim with the court within two years of the decedent’s death.
- Compile documentation of damages such as funeral costs, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses caused by the death.
- Negotiate a settlement with the defendant or go to trial if necessary.
- Receive compensation for your damages.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
After a wrongful death, the surviving family members of the deceased must file a claim within two years of the decedent’s death. This period is known as a statute of limitations, varying from state to state. In Florida, the wrongful death statute is located in Florida Statutes Section 768. It is essential to keep this statute in mind as it can affect your ability to recover damages from the death of a loved one if you miss the deadline for filing.
How are wrongful death settlements paid out?
Wrongful death settlements in Florida are typically paid out as a single lump sum or structured settlement. In either case, the money is intended to compensate surviving family members for their losses.
In a lump-sum payment, the settlement money is paid in full shortly after the case is resolved. Structured settlements may involve periodic payments over an extended period. Both options allow surviving family members to recover from the death of a loved one financially.
Is a wrongful death settlement subject to taxation?
No, wrongful death settlements are not subject to taxation in Florida. This means the entire settlement amount can be distributed amongst beneficiaries without fear of incurring taxes. However, it is essential to note that any interest earned on a settlement may be subject to taxation and should be reported accordingly.
What to do if your remuneration was unjustly withheld?
If you believe that your wrongful death settlement was unjustly withheld or unfairly reduced, there are still legal options you can explore. The first is called garnishment of wages. In this process, you can take legal action to have the defendant’s wages garnished until the settlement is paid in full. Another legal option is the motion to enforce the judgment. This requires the defendant to pay any payment that has been withheld. Your attorney from Jared’s firm in Hollywood, FL, can help ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Why do you need to hire a wrongful death attorney?
An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you understand your rights and seek compensation for the financial losses from a loved one’s death. They can help you comprehend complicated legal issues and determine if you have a valid wrongful death claim. They will work diligently to ensure that the claims process is handled promptly and that the settlement is fair and just.
By knowing who pays in a wrongful death suit and understanding the legal process, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. Ultimately, a wrongful death lawsuit is intended to provide financial compensation for survivors and should be taken seriously. If you believe you are entitled to a settlement, consulting with a wrongful death attorney from Jared Spingarn’s firm is the best way to protect your legal rights.
>> 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.