Key West & Marathon Wrongful Death Lawyer
At Florida Keys Injury, our job is to help injury victims recover financial compensation for harm caused by another’s negligent behavior. In the most tragic circumstances, another’s negligence, recklessness or wrongful act results in the death of the victim. While the situation may be harder to deal with for the surviving family members, our approach remains the same: to treat our clients with compassion and respect by listening to their needs, keeping them informed and making ourselves available whenever they need us, and to aggressively fight for the full amount of compensation available from the responsible parties and their insurance companies. If you have experienced a tragic loss in Key West, Marathon or anywhere in The Keys, call Florida Keys Injury for a no-cost consultation to discuss the options available to you.
How Do You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in The Keys?
The first step will be to open up a probate estate in Monroe County court (courthouses are located in Key West, Marathon and Plantation Key). This will allow the estate to lawfully receive the proceeds of any settlement or court judgment. It will also enable the judge to appoint a personal representative for the estate. The personal representative is the proper party to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party. Although brought by the estate, the lawsuit will list the family members with an interest in the lawsuit, who can be a spouse, children, parents, or other blood relatives and adoptive siblings of the deceased if they relied on the deceased for support in some way.
The case against the negligent party will either settle out of court at some point, or it will go to trial. In either event, a lawyer from Florida Keys Injury can help to achieve a successful result and get a full and fair amount of compensation. This requires putting together a solid case that proves the negligent party’s fault and liability and also proving the extent of damages that must be paid. By putting together a compelling and convincing case, we are often able to settle the case without going to court.
What Kinds of Compensation Can Be Recovered for Wrongful Death?
Florida’s wrongful death law provides two different streams of compensation for wrongful death – one stream goes to the surviving family members who suffered specific losses, while the other stream flows to the estate, where it is then distributed according to the terms of the will.
Compensation for Surviving Family Members
- Medical expenses paid by a family member
- Funeral expenses paid by a family member
- For a spouse, compensation for the loss of companionship and protection of a spouse, plus mental pain and suffering
- For a minor child, compensation for the loss of companionship, instruction and guidance of a parent, plus mental pain and suffering
- For an adult child, compensation for the loss of companionship, instruction, and guidance, plus mental pain and suffering, if the deceased did not leave behind a surviving spouse
- For a parent who lost a minor child, compensation for mental pain and suffering
- For a parent who lost an adult child, compensation for mental pain and suffering if there are no other surviving family members
Compensation That Goes to the Estate
- Medical expenses that became a charge against the estate or were paid by the estate
- Funeral expenses that became a charge against the estate or were paid by the estate
- Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death
- Loss of prospective net accumulations of the estate which might have reasonably been expected if not for the wrongful death, if certain conditions are met
Punitive Damages in Appropriate Cases
Punitive damages are a special class of money damages meant to punish the defendant for especially bad conduct and deter others from engaging in similar bad behavior. Punitive damages are reserved for cases of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Intentional misconduct doesn’t mean the person intended to cause injury but that the person had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the action and a high probability of injury but intentionally did it anyway. Gross negligence means acting so recklessly that it shows a conscious disregard or indifference to life or safety. Drunk driving or boating under the influence, driving onto the sidewalk, or intentionally running a cyclist off the road are examples of behavior that might qualify for punitive damages.
Punitive damages have to be proven with “clear and convincing evidence,” which is higher than the usual standard. Although it is harder to get punitive damages, the attorneys at Florida Keys Injury are more than willing to put in the extra time and effort to secure this additional compensation to help family members deal with their loss and feel that some measure of justice has been done for their loved one.
Help With Wrongful Death Claims in the Florida Keys
If you have lost a beloved family member due to the negligence of another in a Florida Keys car accident or slip and fall, call Florida Keys Injury at 786-605-8500 for a no-cost consultation with a concerned and dedicated Key West & Marathon wrongful death lawyer. We’ll help you through this trying time, and we only charge a fee at the end of the case when we have recovered compensation for you.