Have you lost a loved one due to another’s negligence? Read these 3 wrongful death tips for guidance, then call our Tampa lawyers for help.
Wrongful Death Case Value
Early on in wrongful death cases, we’ll have clients who want to know about the value of their case. Yesterday, I sat with a spouse who lost her husband while she was deposed for four or five hours, so it’s early in the litigation. That’s the first deposition that’s been taken. After a deposition, she wanted to know, “What’s the value of my case? Can I go for the maximum?” I told her the maximum is a trial, because the maximum is whatever a jury says your case is worth. There will be a lot of steps along the way. Finding out what the coverage is of the wrongdoer sometimes limits the recovery in the case. Sometimes there are things that are found out during the deposition stage where the case is weakened. It depends on how strong liability is, what the value of the non-economic losses are, pain and suffering, how many claimants there are, whether or not there is a loss of household services, and whether or not there is a lawsuit of accumulation or savings to the estate. If the person who dies was working, you can’t just recover their lost wages, but you can recover what they were saving. If they were a big saver, that makes that case and claim more valuable.The economic damages like that drive the value of the case, but so does the coverage because it’s easier to collect insurance coverage money than it is to try to collect from somebody personally. That’s why during his civil litigation, OJ Simpson bought his house here in Florida. He did that because Florida protects a homestead. You can’t put somebody outside of their home and collect the value of that homestead. It’s very difficult to collect from individuals, so insurance coverage often ends up, sadly, being the driving force in the value of a claim.
Wrongful Death Compensation
Generally in a personal injury wrongful death, where your loved one is struck and killed by a motor vehicle or driver, or something like a slip and fall where they hit their head unnecessarily and they pass away, the type of damages that can be recovered is, first, the claim for all damages brought by the personal representative. Then the immediate family members – the spouse, the children, and if no children, in some cases the parents – can bring claims for their loss of companionship, society, affections, and all of their non-economic pain and suffering. There’s also a claim for loss of what we call “net accumulations to the estate.” What that means is the amount that was being saved. As we live, we consume money because we have to eat, we have to be dressed, we have to have housing. You can’t just recover lost wages, but you can recover a loss of net accumulated money to the estate, so savings records and those kind of things become very important in making a claim for all of the damages for a wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Settlement Timeline
Working through a wrongful death case can take a variable amount of time. It depends on the analysis of liability, what happened that caused the death, what factors existed that the defense would call pre-morbidities. There are variable factors, and it can take anywhere from – we have had here at Morgenstern & Herd wrongful death cases resolve in less than six months, and we have had cases that have taken four or five years.
- Wrongful death cases can take anywhere from 6 months to 5 years to complete
Did you lose a loved one from another’s negligence and have questions about these 3 wrongful death tips? Contact a Florida wrongful death attorney at Morgenstern and Herd today for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation. Let our experience work for you.
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