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4 elements of a wrongful death case

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences.

When that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, it can be even more devastating. In Miami, like in many other places, there are specific elements needed to pursue a wrongful death case.

1. Negligence or wrongful act

To initiate a wrongful death case, it is important to demonstrate that the deceased person’s death resulted from another party’s negligence or wrongful act. This means showing that the responsible party failed to exercise reasonable care or engaged in actions that directly caused the fatal incident.

2. Causation

Proving causation means establishing a direct link between the negligent or wrongful actions of the responsible party and the death of your loved one. The court will assess whether there is a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the two. This element helps determine liability.

3. Surviving beneficiaries

Only certain family members and dependents are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. Florida law specifies who qualifies as surviving beneficiaries. Typically, these beneficiaries include the deceased person’s spouse, children, parents and any other dependents who relied on the deceased for support or services.

4. Damages

In a wrongful death case, the final element involves seeking damages. These can include compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost financial support and emotional suffering endured by the surviving beneficiaries. Calculating and presenting a fair and reasonable estimate of these damages is vital to securing a just outcome. Estimates indicate that average payouts in 2023 will range between $800,000 to $5 million for these types of cases.

Like any legal action, wrongful death cases are subject to a statute of limitations. If the case is not filed within the specified timeframe, the court may dismiss it.