Accidents are a leading cause of death in the US, and a factor that makes them even more tragic is that they are preventable. Negligence by others is the reason behind motor vehicle crashes, slip and falls, medical malpractice, dog bites, and related incidents. Fortunately, Florida’s wrongful death law allows surviving family members to seek damages from the negligent party. Your first step in the legal process is usually filing an insurance claim and attempting to settle, but you may need to go to court if the insurer does not agree.
There are numerous benefits to settling a wrongful death case, and the majority of claims are resolved by agreement. However, when you are taking legal action, you probably wonder about the court’s involvement in your settlement discussions. There are laws and procedural rules that cover these cases, and you do not want pitfalls to stand in the way of enforcing your rights. While it is important to retain a Miami wrongful death attorney for help, some information on court approval of settlements is useful.
Court Approval for Settlements
In most cases, the Florida judicial system encourages parties to resolve their disputes out of court. They can craft an agreement for a designated amount to be paid directly, in installments, or through a structured settlement that pays an annuity. The court will not interfere except for limited situations, and these factors may apply in some wrongful death cases.
The Florida wrongful death statute specifically states that a settlement must be approved by the court when:
- A survivor objects to the amount;
- A survivor disputes the apportionment of damages among beneficiaries; or,
- The interests of a minor or incompetent adult are affected by the settlement.
Benefits of Settling Wrongful Death Cases
Though you do have to go to court to get approval in these situations, there are still many advantages to resolving your wrongful death claim by settling. For instance:
- Settling gives you certainty. There is no chance for an unfavorable outcome because you already agreed.
- Your case is resolved faster, whereas a trial can take several months or even years.
- You do not need to go to court, which can be overwhelming and intimidating.
- Your legal costs and expenses are reduced by not going through the litigation process and trial.
Damages for Surviving Family Members
Compensation aims to make the victim whole after suffering injuries in an accident, but there is a key with wrongful death cases. The victims are the survivors whose lives are turned around by the death of their loved ones. As such, you may obtain damages for lost support, education, love, guidance, and other contributions.
Discuss Legal Options With a Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer
To learn more about the legal process after a fatal accident, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. You can call (305) 371-6000 or go online to reach our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. We can schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney who will advise you on settlement.