A wrongful death claim is a particular type of legal claim that potentially arises when someone has been killed due to the negligence of another party. The claim is brought by the estate of a deceased person on behalf of the survivors seeking financial compensation, also known as “damages,” for a third party’s wrongful act, negligence, default, breach of contract, or warranty that caused the death of the deceased person.
If you believe you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence or wrongful act, let an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney at Callejo Law help. Attorney Karen Callejo provides compassionate and client-focused legal counsel to both English- and Spanish-speaking clients from her office in Coral Gables. With more than 25 years of professional experience in civil law, the team at Callejo Law is ready to help you approach your impending wrongful death suit with confidence and peace of mind.
It is technically possible to file a wrongful death suit without an attorney, but doing so would impose significant risks that the average person must understand. If you attempted to file a complex civil suit while struggling with the grief of unexpectedly losing a family member, the emotional tension of the situation, combined with the complicated legal issues your case entails would create a very stressful situation for you and your family. Even if you managed to technically succeed with the case, you could overlook key details that ultimately diminish your family’s recovery.
Money cannot return your lost loved one, but you can seek the maximum amount of compensation possible for the wrongful death you experienced and hold the defendant fully accountable for their negligence or intentional misconduct. When you hire a Miami wrongful death attorney to represent your case, you can focus on your family and mourn with some peace of mind knowing your case is in capable and trustworthy hands. You can meet your case’s procedural demands with greater ease, explore the extent of your family’s claimable damages with confidence, and prepare for the proceedings ahead knowing you have a legal advocate ready to answer questions and address concerns as they arise.
Wrongful death claims may only be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate in Florida. The deceased person may have a will or estate plan that names a personal representative. Nonetheless, if no such document exists, the personal representative will be appointed by the court. The personal representative cannot have an actual claim to the proceeds. Only surviving family members may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case, including children, spouses, parents, and blood relatives. An adoptive sibling may also recover if they are dependent on the deceased person for support.
If you intend to pursue a wrongful death claim, you may only do so if you are acting in the capacity of the personal representative of the victim’s estate. If you are a surviving family member and beneficiary of the deceased, the personal representative bringing the suit can effectively file the claim on your behalf and the deceased’s other beneficiaries. While the Miami wrongful death attorney handling your claim can be primarily working with the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, they may also provide support and guidance to the surviving beneficiaries, helping them understand what they can expect as the case unfolds.
A wrongful death claim functionally replaces the personal injury claim that the victim could have filed if they had survived the injury in question. However, while a wrongful death claim is procedurally similar to a personal injury claim, there are several key differences you must understand, including the basics of how to bring your wrongful death claim to court. To bring a successful wrongful death claim in Florida, you must be able to prove:
The stronger your evidence is, the stronger your case is, and the more likely it is to reach a favorable settlement and avoid going to court. In addition, the at-fault parties are much more likely to offer you a favorable settlement if you have an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney at Callejo Law negotiating on your behalf. Having a strong advocate on your side is particularly important if your claim does end up in court.
The first step in success with any wrongful death claim is proving the exact cause of the death in question. A few of the most commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths in the Miami area include:
No matter how the death occurred, you have a limited time in which to file your wrongful death suit. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in the state is two years from the date a fatal injury occurs. Failure to file a claim within this time limit would mean losing the ability to claim compensation from the at-fault party.
Success with a wrongful death claim will require evidence that the defendant directly caused the death through some type of negligence or intentional misconduct. In other words, the plaintiff must be prepared to show that the death would not have occurred but for the defendant’s actions. Your Miami wrongful death attorney can assist you with gathering the evidence needed to establish liability for the death, and it is important to note that the modified comparative negligence statute could apply if your loved one contributed to causing their fatal injury in any way.
Under the modified comparative fault rule for civil suits, a plaintiff loses a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing the damages in question. For example, if an investigation reveals that the decedent was 10% at fault for the fatal accident in question, the case award would diminish by 10%. If they were 50% or more at fault this would negate the ability to claim compensation from the defendant.
The objective of a wrongful death claim is to establish liability for the death and to secure compensation for the losses suffered by the victim’s family. Under the state’s wrongful death statutes, a plaintiff has the right to seek compensation for:
Beyond these damages, the representative of the deceased’s estate can also seek compensation for losses incurred by the estate. For example, the victim may not have immediately died from the incident in question, and in the time between the incident and their death they may have incurred medical expenses and lost income as they underwent their final medical care. These losses can be sought from the defendant as well.
An experienced Miami wrongful death attorney is a valuable asset for any family reeling in the aftermath of a loved one’s untimely death. When you choose Callejo Law to represent your wrongful death claim you may be surprised to discover that we can assist you in recovering much more than you may have initially expected. In addition to the damages you can directly seek from the defendant, it is also possible for the judge handling your case to award punitive damages if the defendant caused the death through egregious negligence or intentional and illegal misconduct of any kind.
A wrongful death suit is a type of civil claim, and the majority of the civil claims filed each year are not resolved through litigation in court. As long as all parties involved in a case are willing to negotiate and compromise, settlement offers a preferable route to resolving a civil claim. During settlement, the parties involved in a case meet privately to discuss mutually acceptable terms for resolving the case without the need for litigation.
Settlement benefits the plaintiff by streamlining their route to compensation, shortening the time required for them to secure compensation for their damages. It benefits the defendant by allowing them to save money on legal fees they would otherwise spend on litigation, which can take much longer than private settlement. During settlement negotiation sessions, the parties involved in the claim will meet at their discretion and discuss the various elements of the case. If they are able to compromise on a deal, they can resolve the case without the need to go to court.
Unfortunately, not all wrongful death claims can be settled privately. If the defendant denies liability for the death, disputes the range of damages sought by the plaintiff, or if they caused the death through some illegal action, settlement may not be possible. In this situation, the case proceeds to litigation. A judge will oversee the case and consider evidence and testimony presented by all parties involved, and the final outcome of the case rests entirely in their hands. The speed with which litigation unfolds depends on how busy the court system is at the time, and it is possible for wrongful death litigation to take several months to complete.
There is no one-size-fits-all legal strategy that works for every wrongful death claim. Every case is unique, and every plaintiff faces different challenges as they seek compensation for the damages inflicted by a defendant’s negligence or misconduct. Having legal counsel you can trust is crucial if you want to reach the optimal outcome to your impending wrongful death case. From beginning to end, your attorney can provide support and guidance that lets you face the proceedings ahead of you with confidence.
When you choose Callejo Law to represent your wrongful death claim, we can work with you to gather the evidence needed to firmly establish liability for the death in question. Once we have proven fault, we can then help your family assess the extent of the damages you can claim from the defendant. Our goal in every wrongful death case we accept is to streamline our client’s recovery and to help them secure as much compensation as the law allows. We can prepare a compelling complaint that encourages the defendant to seek a swift settlement, but if litigation is necessary to resolve your case we are fully prepared to represent you in court.
At Callejo Law, we focus entirely on personal injury and workers’ comp claims and have over 25 years of experience. All clients have Ms. Callejo’s cell phone number. We offer free consultations, same-day returns of phone calls and emails, bilingual representation, and 24/7/365 availability.
At Callejo Law, we take pride in our experience, accessibility, and ability to treat every client with respect, compassion, and understanding, especially after losing a loved one. The quality of our service has earned us a perfect 5.0 on Google Reviews. If you suspect a loved one was wrongfully killed, contact an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney at Callejo Law for help.
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