The death of a family member or loved one can be an extremely difficult experience, with the grieving process having a significant impact on your life. This can be made all the more difficult where the death could have been avoidable if not for the negligent actions of another person.
In order to help ease the pain of the grieving process, compensation can help to prevent stress from financial losses you may have incurred as a result of the wrongful death, as well as aid you through your emotional distress. Often it can be stressful not knowing what to expect from a wrongful death suit, as it is much easier to plan your future if you know the settlement amount you could expect from the wrongful death case.
The Law Place can help you receive a fair settlement and give you advice on the typical wrongful death settlement you may receive. We can offer you a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney from our team. In this free consultation, an experienced attorney can give you free advice on your personal injury claim as well as factors that may affect your settlement.
If you want to get advice on the average wrongful death settlement, then contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida Statute 768.19 provides a comprehensive definition of wrongful death as,
“When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person…and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued.”
Following the definition given in the statute, we can extract three main elements necessary for a successful wrongful death case:
- The conduct of the defendant has, in some way, caused the victim’s death.
- The conduct which caused the death was a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.
- The conduct of the defendant, was it not for the victim’s death, would have entitled the victim to bring an action and recover damages.
It is important to note that wrongful death cases fall under civil actions. This allows a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed by the victim’s estate or relatives and provides a lower intent threshold, allowing wrongful death actions to be brought due to accidents or negligence.
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What Different Types of Wrongful Death Claims Are There?
The definition in the statute gives us the parameters for what constitutes a wrongful death. Specific situations that can be classified under wrongful death include, but are not limited to:
- Automobile accident – If a person has died in an automobile accident that was caused by the negligent driving of the defendant.
- Product liability – If the decedent dies as a result of malfunctioning machinery, the mislabeling of a product, or other negligence involving the creation of a product.
- Medical malpractice – Hospitals and individual physicians have an expected duty of care, so wrongful death lawsuits can be brought if the physician or hospital has acted negligently, and this has caused the death of a patient under their care.
- Workplace incidents – If the victim’s death was the result of their workplace being negligent, such as through poor working conditions, the workplace might be liable for wrongful death.
What Is Negligence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In many wrongful death lawsuits, negligence is a key element needed in order to succeed in the claim. Negligence involves failing to adhere to a reasonable level of care (compared to what a reasonably careful person would do in the same circumstances.) Therefore, we can establish four necessary elements when arguing that negligence is present in a wrongful death case:
- A duty of care – The defendant must have been legally required to have provided a particular level of care for the decedent.
- A breach of that duty – The defendant must have breached the duty of care.
- Causation – It must be proven that the wrongful death was directly caused by the breach performed by the defendant.
- Damages – You must be able to prove that you sustained losses that can be financially compensated.
It is important to consider that the burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff when proving negligence. So, if you want to bring a wrongful death case, you must be able to prove all the elements of negligence described above.
What Types of Damages Could I Be Awarded From a Wrongful Death Settlement?
Wrongful death can affect people in a number of different ways, and it is important that those affected by it get the support they need in the wake of such a tragic event. Florida Statute 768.21 provides a number of categories under which damages can be claimed in wrongful death cases, allowing you to receive compensation to help provide you with the financial support you need.
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There are two main categories of damages – economic and non-economic. Economic damages involve compensation to recover objective monetary loss.
Medical Expenses and Funeral Expenses
If you have paid for the victim’s medical bills or funeral and burial expenses, you can recover them through a successful wrongful death settlement.
Recovering the Decedent’s Estate
Through wrongful death claims, the personal representative of the decedent can recover for the decedent’s estate. This includes the lost earnings from the date of injury to the date of death.
Loss of Support and Services
Through a wrongful death lawsuit, each survivor can claim compensation for the value of lost support and services. The timeframe for the loss is from the date of the decedent’s injury to the decedent’s death, as well as future lost support and services.
Whilst economic damages focus on compensation that can be objectively measured by monetary losses, non-economic damages are compensation for non-monetary losses that are subjective in nature. This means that they do not have an immediately calculable value attached to them.
Pain and Suffering and Loss of Companionship
Pain and suffering and loss of companionship are categories that aim to provide you with compensation for the emotional trauma that you may have experienced through the wrongful death of a loved one.
Loss of Parental Companionship
If the wrongful death victim had minor children (this also covers adult children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse), then compensation can be sought for the loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Due to the personal nature of wrongful death lawsuits, cases tend to be very different, so it is difficult to put a number on the average wrongful death settlement. Wrongful death settlement amounts can vary due to factors like the decedent’s age and how much money they would have been expected to make in the future.
As described above, there are a number of categories of damages you can recover through a wrongful death settlement. If you wish to provide yourself with a better idea of the settlement you may receive through a wrongful death lawsuit, it is useful to make an estimation of your economic losses, as they are the simplest category of losses to calculate on your own.
However, if you wish to make an estimate of the non-economic losses you could expect to receive in a wrongful death settlement, it is a good idea to contact a wrongful death lawyer, such as a member of our team at The Law Place.
Contact The Law Place About Your Wrongful Death Claim Today!
If you want advice on the average wrongful death settlement you can expect to receive, then contact The Law Place today! We have a dedicated team of personal injury attorneys with over 75 years of combined experience that want to help bring you justice for your loved one’s death. Our attorneys place priority on the attorney-client relationship and will give great attention to your personal experience. If you book a free consultation, we can connect you with a lawyer that will give you useful legal advice on the settlement amount you can expect from a wrongful death action.
To book your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today with one of our wrongful death attorneys, contact The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.