Wrongful death settlements are paid out in one of two ways, lump sums or structured payments. The way your settlement is paid out will determine whether or not you receive your settlement money all at once or over a period of time.
If you lost a loved one, you can receive a settlement from the at-fault party through a claim or a lawsuit. Our wrongful death lawyer can explain more about how you may receive your final settlement award.
Lump Sum Settlements Vs. Structured Settlements
In a lump sum payment, the deceased’s beneficiaries receive a single, upfront payment. Once this payment is issued, the case is closed. In most cases, you can’t receive more compensation after a lump sum payment.
When you receive a lump sum payment, you can deal with some of the expenses associated with your loved one’s passing right away.
Structured settlements are paid over time. For example, if you received a $500,000 dollar verdict, you could receive this payment over months. The details of the settlement are ironed out before the case closes and often differ from case to case.
Each form of payment comes with pros and cons. Structured payments may be easier for the at-fault party to pay because they are spread out over time. However, it might be more difficult for you to pay for the costs associated with your loved one’s passing when you don’t receive the whole settlement upfront.
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How Are Settlement Payouts Enforced?
According to Florida Statutes § 768.78, there are several tools designed to hold debtors (those responsible for a victim’s damages) responsible if they’re failing to make payments, including:
- Ordering that the debtor pays out all outstanding payments within 30 days
- Ordering that the debtor pays out all outstanding payments and pays additional damages, including court and attorney fees
The court responsible for a wrongful death case can issue other sanctions or measures against the debtor if needed.
Securing a Wrongful Death Settlement
Wrongful death settlements are usually secured in one of two ways, through a claim or a lawsuit:
- Insurance claims: Some wrongful death cases can be settled through an insurance claim. Our attorney can negotiate with the liable party’s insurer to help you reach a fair settlement.
- Wrongful death lawsuit: You may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit if a fair settlement cannot be reached through a claim. Our attorney will not hesitate to take your case to court if necessary.
Wrongful Death Damages You Could Recover
Damages in a wrongful death case are the specific types of losses you can receive compensation for. In Florida, they could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Mental anguish
- Burial expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship and parental guidance
These damages vary on a case-by-case basis. Some damages not noted here may apply. Similarly, not every individual qualifies for these damages. If you’re curious about the damages involved in your case, consider speaking with our attorney.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?
Only the personal representative of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This individual can be certain family members or court-appointed officials. Their job is to oversee the finances of the decedent.
Therefore, a wrongful death case begins with a personal representative filing a lawsuit. Then, they’ll oversee the distribution of a settlement to qualifying family members, who could include:
- A spouse of the decedent
- A parent of the decedent
- A child of the decedent
- A family member who is dependent on the decedent
In other states, family members can pursue wrongful death lawsuits without relying on a personal representative. Due to the necessary involvement of a personal representative, Florida wrongful death cases can be more complicated. Our attorney can help you navigate your wrongful death case.
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Wrongful Death Lawsuits Have a Filing Deadline
In Florida, wrongful death cases are subject to the wrongful death statute of limitations. This law functions as a deadline. It provides family members and their personal representatives a two-year window to file a lawsuit, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d). If they miss this window, they’ll be unable to pursue legal action. Different deadlines may apply to insurance claims.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit early has several benefits, including:
- Ensures that you don’t miss any relevant deadlines
- Signals to the liable party that you intend to pursue justice
- Prevents witnesses from forgetting what they know about your case
Speak With Our Firm About Our Wrongful Death Attorney
If another party is responsible for your loved one’s passing, our wrongful death lawyer can help with your family’s case. At Andrew Pickett Law, PLLC, we’re proud to stand up for those in need. We can evaluate your case and fight for justice. Your family deserves a fair chance at pursuing compensation. Contact our offices for a free case consultation today.