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A Guide to Wrongful Death Cases in Florida

Each year, about 32,000 individuals are killed in car accidents across the nation.  Florida is home to over 2,000 deaths a year, making it one of the most dangerous states for drivers.  Fatal car accidents often involve the use of excessive speed, distraction, aggressive driving, defective automobile parts, unsafe roadways, and much more.  The survivors of fatal car accident victims are likely to feel bereaved, stressed, and confused. Often, the loss of the deceased puts a tremendous financial strain on the family.

The family members of those killed in car accidents can seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.  Our Miami wrongful death lawyers have prepared the following guide to wrongful death actions in Florida:

What is a Wrongful Death?

            A wrongful death is defined under Florida law as a death caused by negligence, breach of contract, or default.  A death can be termed wrongful in the event of nearly any car accident that was caused by the negligence of another.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

            The Florida Wrongful Death Act authorizes the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative will seek to recover compensation to be put towards the survivors of the deceased and the estate.  Survivors eligible to receive compensation from the wrongful death include spouses, children, parents, and siblings.  Both minor and adult children can receive a recovery in the event of their parent’s death.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Suit

            The Florida Wrongful Death Act authorizes two categories of damages:  those that are recoverable by the estate and those recoverable by the survivors of the car accident victim.

The deceased’s estate can recover for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Any medical expenses paid out prior to the victim’s death
  • Loss of the deceased’s income
  • Loss of net accumulations

Survivors of the car accident victim can seek recovery for:

  • Loss of companionship, instruction, and guidance
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of the deceased’s financial support and services, including household services
  • Medical and funeral expenses paid by the survivors
  • Loss of the deceased’s companionship and protection

Net accumulations is another term to describe what the victim would have saved and passed down in his or her inheritance.  To calculate net accumulations, you look to the victim’s expected salary and other income, including pension benefits, and determine how much he or she would likely have saved to become part of the estate had he or she lived a normal life expectancy.

In some cases, plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit may be awarded punitive damages.  These damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and are reserved for car accidents involving extreme recklessness or intentional behavior. Attorney’s fees and interest can sometimes be pursued in addition to regular damages.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano: Assisting the Loved One of Deceased Accident Victims

            Losing a loved one in a car accident or other sort of accident involving negligence is devastating and inflicts great emotional as well as financial harm.  If your relative was killed in a car accident, the Miami Personal Injury Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are here to help.  For over 130 collective years, we have assisted survivors and personal representatives in bringing wrongful action claims across South Florida.  Our experience and talent has earned us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.   Allow our skilled attorneys to mount your successful case.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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