Death is always a tragic event. An unnecessary death that was caused by someone else’s wrongful behavior, however, is beyond tragic.
One of the most difficult aspects of unexpected death in the family is the need to seek compensation from the wrongdoer before you have even dried the tears from your eyes. You’re just not going to feel like negotiating a settlement with an insurance company executive in the midst of such grief.
Insurance companies know this, and they take ruthless advantage of it. Indeed, there is one kind of wrongful death claimant who defendants and insurance companies alike just love—the claimant who doesn’t know how much their claim is worth.
It can be easy to convince such people to settle for a fraction of their claim’s true value. Let us do the negotiating for you, however, and we will see to it that you receive every dime you are entitled to.
How Wrongful Death Claims Work in Florida
The personal representative or executor of the victim’s probate estate is the only person entitled to file a wrongful death claim in Florida. Any damages award goes to the deceased victim’s close family members and their probate estate.
Wrongful Death Settlements in Florida: What Damages Do They Cover?
Wrongful death settlements in Florida are based on the Florida wrongful death statute, which states the types of damages available.
Damages that go to the victim’s family include:
- Loss of financial support and services;
- Loss of companionship and protection;
- Mental anguish and grief;
- Loss of parental instruction and guidance; and
- Medical and funeral expenses already paid by a particular family member.
Damages that go to the victim’s probate estate include:
- Lost earnings from the date of injury to the date of death;
- The estimated value of the victim’s savings that would have accumulated during the years that the victim lost due to their untimely death; and
- Medical and funeral expenses that the victim’s probate estate has already paid directly.
Damages that go to the victim’s probate estate are eventually distributed to the victim’s heirs if anything is left once estate creditors have been paid.
Factors That Affect the Value of a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
The most important factors that affect the value of a Florida wrongful death claim include:
- The amount of damages that the victim, the victim’s family, and the victim’s probate estate suffered.
- The extent to which the victim shared blame for the accident. Florida comparative negligence law shaves off one percent from the victim’s damages for every percent of fault that the court attributes to the victim—so a victim who is 40 percent at fault, for example, will lose 40 percent of their damages.
- The strength of the claim and the likelihood of winning at trial. If you have a skilled attorney and your claim is strong, your settlement will be higher.
- Insurance policy limits—for instance, medical malpractice insurance policies can almost always pay the full amount of a claim, whereas automobile insurance policies are frequently insufficient.
- The availability of alternative defendants (e.g., the defendant’s employer who might bear liability under certain circumstances). The richer the defendant (or their insurer), the higher the settlement value is likely to be.
This is not an exclusive list. These and other factors all work together to determine the ultimate value of a wrongful death claim.
The Bottom Line: How Much Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement Worth?
There really is no such thing as a typical wrongful death settlement in Florida. Each case is entirely fact specific and settlements can vary greatly. Your settlement amount will depend entirely on the facts of your case. We are happy to assess your case so we can guide you further.
Consult With a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney
We can calculate the true value of your claim based on the specific facts of your case. And you can rest assured that we never allow anyone to take advantage of one of our clients.
If you think you have a wrongful death claim in Florida, contact Grossman Attorneys at Law, either online or by calling (800) 940-8048. Don’t worry that you can’t afford us. We charge you nothing in legal fees until and unless we win your claim and you actually receive compensation.