Wrongful death lawsuits are a type of civil case brought by close family members of a victim of preventable death. Under Florida law, wrongful death cases can be brought when death is caused by the reckless, intentional, or negligent actions of an individual or responsible party. When a plaintiff’s case is won, the amount of damages owed by the defendant can vary greatly. Many different aspects factor into the final calculation of damages owed.
Figuring out how much and what you can claim is easy when you enlist The Law Place to help you fight your wrongful death case. Rest easy knowing that our team of qualified attorneys is working day and night on the individual legal needs of your case. Find out how much you are owed today.
Contact us for a free consultation at (941) 444-4444.
What is the Average Payout in a Wrongful Death Suit?
The average payout in a wrongful death suit can vary significantly based on numerous factors, making it challenging to pinpoint a specific average amount. Wrongful death lawsuits encompass a wide range of circumstances, each with unique aspects that influence the final settlement or court award.
Factors Influencing Payout Amounts
Several key factors determine the payout in a wrongful death suit. These include the age and earning capacity of the deceased, the number and nature of dependents left behind, the circumstances of the death, and the degree of negligence involved.
The calculation also takes into account the financial and emotional losses suffered by the family, including loss of income, loss of companionship, medical and funeral expenses, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Variations Across Jurisdictions
The average payout also varies significantly across different jurisdictions due to varying state laws and legal precedents. Some states have caps on certain types of damages in wrongful death suits, which can affect the total payout amount.
Settlements vs. Trial Verdicts
The mode of resolution of the case also impacts the payout amount. Settlements reached out of court may differ from verdicts given at trial. Often, settlements are reached based on negotiations between the parties involved and may result in a quicker, more predictable outcome. Trial verdicts, while potentially higher, come with the uncertainty and the time-consuming nature of a court trial.
Insurance Policy Limits
In cases where the wrongful death was caused by an incident covered by insurance, such as a car accident, the payout may also be influenced by the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. These limits can cap the amount that can be paid out, regardless of the damages assessed.
Average Payout Range
While it’s challenging to state an average, wrongful death settlements and verdicts can range from modest sums to several million dollars. Smaller cases might result in settlements or awards in the tens or hundreds of thousands, while cases involving significant loss of income, extensive medical costs, and punitive damages can reach much higher amounts.
Role of Legal Representation
The gudiance of a wrongful death attorney is crucial in determining and pursuing the appropriate amount of compensation. An experienced attorney can effectively assess the case, negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties, and advocate for the family’s rights, whether in settlement negotiations or at trial.
The average payout in a wrongful death suit is influenced by a complex mix of factors, making each case unique. The specific circumstances of the death, the legal framework, and the quality of legal representation all play vital roles in shaping the outcome of these suits.
What Are the Different Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are multiple types of damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death case. Typically, close family members or elected representatives of the decedent’s estate are the ones eligible to these claims. If a spouse or minor child is not present, an adult child of the deceased’s parents can also file suit, except in the case of medical malpractice. A wrongful death lawsuit can be sought if the deceased loved one was killed due to the negligence, default, breach of contract or warranty, or wrongful act of a person or entity.
Florida Statute 768.21 lays out the types of damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit. They are as follows:
- Mental pain and suffering.
- Loss of support and services.
- Medical expenses.
- Funeral costs.
- Estate Losses.
These damages cover the types of compensation you may be owed in the tragic death of a loved one. Many claims cover more than one of these types, and some can include all five. For example, death resulting from chronic illness caused by negligence can legitimately claim damages from all of these categories.
A spouse or elected representative can sue for their own mental pain and suffering, the loss of support that the deceased provided, the medical bills associated with the illness, funeral expenses, and any reasonable losses the decedent’s estate may have sustained to their death. Family members, however, cannot sue based on the suffering the decedent may have experienced in the time before their death.
If you are experiencing any of these burdens due to the wrongful death of a loved one, you may be eligible for further compensation.
Contact us at The Law Place for a free consultation so we can assess what damages you may be entitled to.
What Is the Average Settlement for Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death cases settle for a range of figures. The average in Florida is around $500,000 to $1 million. Damages can amount to more or less than this average, and the amount able to be paid depends on insurance coverage and the defendant’s individual financial worth. It is important to know the average payouts available in a wrongful death lawsuit and to consult with your attorney on what to expect from your case. Each case is different and requires careful assessment.
The Law Place will help you maximize your potential payout. The different damages available to you will be dependent on the uniqueness of your case. We can guarantee a thorough examination of the legal strengths of your lawsuit and fair evaluation of what to expect.
Is There a Difference Between the Death of an Adult and the Death of a Child?
Despite the morbidity of the topic, courts in Florida do make a considerable difference in the assessment of wrongful death cases involving children or adults. Due to the nature of economic claims such as loss of income and household services, wrongful death cases involving children rarely settle for as much as decedent adults. Although the loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy, the economic loss of a child in the court’s eyes does not equate to that of an adult.
A death settlement involving children almost exclusively relies on the non-economic loss experienced by the survivors. Mental pain and suffering cases rarely equate to those of an economic nature, as more often than not, the court is thinking in terms of dollars and cents.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
Once a figure has been determined by the court or settlement, the personal representative of the decedent has a legal obligation to distribute the proceeds in a fair and equitable manner among the survivors.
Personal representatives are recommended to seek court approval of all distributions to survivors and the estate. This helps negate the possibility of a legal dispute over said distribution. Our attorneys will try to make a favorable assessment in your favor. The attorney-client privilege means all discussions of this matter stay confidential.
At The Law Place, our fees are deducted from the rewards agreed upon in settlement or ruled in court. If you don’t win, we don’t get paid. Simple as that. All contingency fee structures are monitored by the State Bar Associations, which sets the guidelines for how much lawyers can charge. Our fee system will be explained to you during your consultation, so there will be no surprise bills.
Eligibility for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
The eligibility to file a wrongful death claim in Florida is specifically outlined by state law, focusing primarily on the closest relatives and dependents of the deceased. Understanding these eligibility criteria is crucial for families considering a wrongful death claim to ensure that the rights of all potential beneficiaries are appropriately represented.
Designated Personal Representative
In Florida, the wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This individual is either named in the deceased’s will or estate plan or appointed by the court if no will exists. The personal representative acts on behalf of the estate and all eligible beneficiaries.
Family Members as Beneficiaries
The claim benefits specific family members defined under Florida law. These typically include the deceased’s spouse, children, and parents. Additionally, any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services may also be eligible for compensation.
Minor children of the deceased, in Florida defined as children under the age of 25, have a right to compensation in a wrongful death claim. They are considered particularly vulnerable and in need of support following the loss of a parent.
The surviving spouse of the deceased is often the primary beneficiary in a wrongful death claim. They are entitled to seek damages for loss of companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
Dependents and Support
Other dependents of the deceased, such as adopted children or stepchildren, who were financially or emotionally dependent on the deceased, can also be considered eligible beneficiaries. Their relationship with the deceased and the extent of their dependence will determine their share of the claim.
Exceptions and Special Considerations
In cases where the deceased is an adult with no surviving spouse or minor children, parents can make a wrongful death claim. However, if the deceased is a minor, the parents are typically the ones to file the claim.
Who Pays for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death settlements are typically paid out by insurance companies that cover the person or entity deemed responsible for the decedent’s death. Once the value of the damages has been determined, either by the verdict of the court or out-of-court settlement, the insurance company usually pays out the maximum benefit allowed by their individual policy. If damages amount to more than the maximum benefit, the individual or entity is then responsible for paying the rest.
If there is no insurance policy covering the damages claimed, there are limited options available. Most often, it is impossible to recover full damages from an individual unable to pay. However, the court may implement payment plans in favor of the plaintiffs. Our attorneys will offer a fair assessment of what to expect from your case.
What If the Deceased Has Debts?
According to the precedent set by the case of Estate of Barton v. Poole, collectors cannot use damages claimed in a wrongful death case to pay their outstanding debts. If the deceased owes money, the survivors do not have to use their remuneration of economic and non-economic damage to pay off decedent debts. However, when damages are claimed by the estate of the deceased, such as unpaid medical bills or investment gains or losses, creditors can then file with a probate court and make claims. In these circumstances, you need a strong attorney to fight on the estate’s behalf.
Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Unsure of how long you might have to file your wrongful death case? Are you struggling to cope with the death of your loved one, and need time to recover? According to Florida Statute 713.23, you have up to two years to file your claim. After that, the statute of limitations will have passed, and your rights to trial will be relinquished.
Take the time you need, and call us when you are ready. We will be waiting.
How The Law Place Can Help
The Law Place offers comprehensive legal support for those navigating the complexities of a wrongful death claim. With a team of experienced wrongful death attorneys, The Law Place brings a wealth of knowledge and a compassionate approach to each case, understanding the delicate nature of wrongful death lawsuits and the emotional challenges faced by the bereaved.
When you turn to The Law Place for assistance with a wrongful death claim, you will find a dedicated team ready to guide you through each step of the legal process. Our attorneys take the time to listen to your story, understand the impact of your loss, and provide personalized legal strategies tailored to your specific case. They are well-versed in the nuances of wrongful death laws and can handle all aspects of your claim, from investigating the circumstances of the death to negotiating with insurance companies.
The Law Place focuses on ensuring that surviving family members receive the compensation they deserve. This includes assessing all areas of potential compensation, such as lost wages and earnings, medical and funeral expenses, and non-economic damages like loss of companionship and emotional distress. Our attorneys are skilled in calculating these damages accurately and advocating for your rights, ensuring that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.
Understanding the financial strain that can accompany the loss of a loved one, The Law Place works on a contingency fee basis. This means that our fees are contingent upon the successful resolution of your claim, ensuring that you can seek justice without the burden of upfront legal costs.
Additionally, The Law Place offers support in dealing with the legal intricacies of wrongful death claims, including navigating the statute of limitations and handling complex paperwork. Our attorneys maintain open and clear communication throughout the process, ensuring that you are informed and involved every step of the way.
With The Law Place by your side, you can have confidence in the legal representation of your wrongful death claim. Our commitment to delivering compassionate, thorough, and effective legal assistance can provide you with the support and advocacy needed during this challenging time.
How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth? FAQ
What is the average settlement for wrongful death lawsuits?
The average settlement for wrongful death lawsuits varies widely, as it depends on several factors such as the circumstances of the death, the income of the deceased, and the financial and emotional impact on the surviving family members. Settlements can range from thousands to millions of dollars.
How is a wrongful death settlement amount determined?
A wrongful death settlement amount is determined by considering various factors, including lost wages and financial support the deceased would have provided, funeral and burial expenses, medical bills related to the death, and non-economic factors like the loss of companionship and emotional distress of surviving family members.
What is the average wrongful death settlement in cases involving high-income earners?
The average wrongful death settlement in cases involving high-income earners can be significantly higher due to the substantial financial support they would have provided to their dependents. Each case is unique, and settlements are calculated based on the specific details of the case.
Can surviving family members receive compensation for their emotional suffering in a wrongful death claim?
Yes, surviving family members can receive compensation for emotional suffering and loss of companionship in a wrongful death claim. This is considered part of the non-economic damages in wrongful death lawsuits.
What costs are covered in wrongful death claims?
Wrongful death claims typically cover a range of costs, including medical expenses incurred prior to death, funeral and burial expenses, lost future earnings, loss of benefits (like medical insurance), and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering of the surviving family members.
Are wrongful death settlements taxable?
Generally, wrongful death settlements are not taxable. However, there can be exceptions, such as interest accrued on the settlement amount or portions of the settlement deemed as punitive damages. Consulting with a financial advisor for tax-related questions is advisable.
How do wrongful death lawyers assist in maximizing compensation?
Wrongful death lawyers help in maximizing compensation by thoroughly investigating the circumstances of the case, accurately calculating economic and non-economic damages, negotiating with insurance companies, and advocating on behalf of the surviving family members.
What role does a surviving spouse play in a wrongful death suit?
A surviving spouse often plays a central role in a wrongful death suit as they may be the primary plaintiff, especially in seeking compensation for loss of consortium and support. Their relationship with the deceased and the impact of the loss on their life are critical factors in the case.
Is it necessary to file a wrongful death claim shortly after the death occurs?
While it is not necessary to file a wrongful death claim immediately after the death, it is important to be mindful of the statute of limitations, which varies by state. Consulting with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible is advisable to ensure timely filing.
How do wrongful death attorneys calculate the future earnings of the deceased?
Wrongful death attorneys calculate the future earnings of the deceased by considering their age, health, life expectancy, earning capacity, and career trajectory at the time of death. This calculation is crucial in determining the wrongful death compensation for lost financial support.
Consult Our Experienced Team of Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
Have you experienced the loss of a loved one? Do you think their death may be the result of the reckless, negligent, or intentional actions of a person or entity?
Contact The Law Place to schedule a free consultation and find out what damages you may be entitled to. Our experienced team of lawyers work together on every case. No stone will be left unturned in our thorough approach to the individual needs of you and your family. File your wrongful death action with us to make certain you have the best available law firm on your side. We guarantee exceptional legal aid during your time of tragedy.
Focus on healing the wounds left by the unexpected departure of your loved one. Let us deal with the rest. Call The Law Place at (941) 444-4444 for your free consultation today.