Wrongful Death Lawyer Orlando FL
Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
If you’ve lost someone in a tragic accident that was avoidable, contact a wrongful death lawyer Orlando FL offers without delay. The Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. have filed many wrongful death suits. Our attorneys are experienced with this type of claim, which can be very complex. It is important to act before the statute of limitations has expired for your claim. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL as soon as possible.
Wrongful death is a tragedy for everyone involved, and a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, Florida can help you move on from the pain of a sudden and avoidable loss. While no amount of compensation can make up for the pain of a lost loved one, it can help family and friends grieve properly and bring a sense of closure to the bereaved.
- Orlando FL Wrongful Death Infographic
- Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
- Misconceptions Concerning Wrongful Death Cases
- Compensation for Wrongful Death
- Special Considerations if Your Loved One Died While on the Job
- Wrongful Death and Murder – What is the Difference?
- Wrongful Death, Defined
- COMMON MYTHS ABOUT WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUITS
- CRIMINAL VS. CIVIL CHARGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH
- WRONGFUL DEATH? MANSLAUGHTER? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
- Qualities of a Good Wrongful Death Lawyer
- CONTACT NEEDLE & ELLENBERG, P.A. TODAY
Many people assume wrongful death cases are only associated with certain fields, and while they are definitely more common in certain situations, the sad reality is that wrongful death can happen to anyone, anywhere. Wrongful death claims aren’t just confined to medical malpractice cases or fatal industrial accidents in dangerous work environments. While tragedy is sometimes unavoidable, fatal negligence is all around us.
Information About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
Understanding and knowing how the wrongful death claims work is one step in the process—the remaining family will file for charges. Florida Statutes section 768.19 states that “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” then the estate of the deceased may bring a civil lawsuit to the Florida courts, seeking a legal remedy for the losses that the death caused to the estate.
Florida requires a “personal representative” of the deceased person’s estate—this is usually someone named in the person’s will or estate plan; and if there is nobody named in a will or plan, the court will appoint a person. While this claim is filed by the personal representative, it is filed on behalf of every surviving family member of the decedent. The claim must actually list any surviving family member who will have an interest in the case.
Family members that may recover losses in a Florida wrongful death case are:
- Decedent’s spouse, children, parents
- Any blood relative, or adoptive sibling that is dependent on the decedent for support, services or otherwise considered a dependent
Should a child be born to unmarried parents, the child may recover losses if their mother dies. However, their father is a different story; the child can only recover losses if their father legally recognized them as their child, otherwise the father was not obligated to support this child, even in death.
Did you know that most states have laws regarding time limits on filing these kinds of lawsuits? This is a statute of limitations, and most states have a separate statute in place that focus on wrongful death lawsuits.
In Florida, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date the decedent died on, as written according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d). The deadline can be postponed for a few specific circumstances—and a lawyer who is experienced in wrongful deaths in Florida can help you to determine whether those circumstances apply to your family’s case.
Florida Statutes section 768.21 gives the states rules for damages that are to be awarded in wrongful death lawsuits. Damages that the family can receive compensation for in these sorts of cases are:
- The value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child, and
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
The deceased person’s estate may also receive compensations and recover damages, such as lost wages, benefits, “lost prospective net accumulations”, medical and funeral expenses that the estate paid out directly.
Reaching out to an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Orlando FL can help ensure that your case is handled to the best of your knowledge and is handled correctly so there will be little delay in receiving your compensation.
Reasons for Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims aren’t confined to emergency rooms. Consider a fatal car accident, in which someone who was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol crashed into another car and killed one (or more) of the occupants. Not only was the drunk driver breaking the law, but they’re now responsible for wrongful deaths, and as a result of their negligence, they can be held accountable for damages.
Another cause for wrongful death claims? Plane and aviation accidents. When it comes to aviation, there are many safeguards that are in place to ensure the health and safety of passengers, crews, and pilots. However, plane crashes still happen, and people still die. This can be attributed to a number of different factors, but it always boils down to sudden tragedy, wrongful death, and grieving family and friends. A wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL, can help secure the compensation that family and friends deserve from fatal aviation accidents.
Wrongful death in the hospital is more common than any of us would like to think. Of course, medical malpractice can cause wrongful death, but in some extreme cases, it can cause multiple deaths. Birth injuries can range from mild to fatal, and some birth injuries can result in the loss of a mother, her child – or both. This should never happen, and with proper medical attention, it wouldn’t.
Orlando FL Wrongful Death Infographic
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
While it is very easy to understand what a wrongful death case is, you may be unable to tell whether your case is a wrongful death case or not. You rely on your wrongful death lawyer to tell you whether you have a wrongful death case and a solid one at that. However, if you are curious about previous wrongful death cases that were made national coverage to get an idea of what kind of cases are considered wrongful death cases follow the list below. This list is by no means fully exhaustive, it is just to give some examples.
- In 1994 and 1995 O.J. Simpson was on trial for double murder. The formal professional football player and actor was on trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson was found not guilty by the jury in the criminal trial. Even though O.J. Simpson was found not guilty in the criminal trial, both victims’ families filed a wrongful death claim against Simpson in the civil court. Because this was not a criminal trial he was allowed to be tried for it and at trial the jury found that Simpson was responsible for the deaths and awarded the family $33.5 million. This case is a landmark to demonstrate how the lower burden of proof in civil court may allow you to win a wrongful death case even if criminal court fails you.
- In 1998 Brent Hartman shot her husband and beloved comedienne Phil Hartman. After shooting her husband she shot herself. Britain was considered to be psychotic due to the antidepressant Zoloft at the time of the murder suicide. Her family filed a wrongful death claim against Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer pharmaceuticals, as they allege that the drug caused Brenda to go insane and that it’s a fax letter to commit the shootings. Other wrongful death cases have been filed regarding antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac where suicides and homicides have been frequent. The Hartman case was confidentially settled and did not receive much coverage. Wrongful death cases are actually really common against large pharmaceutical companies because they are producing and marketing unsafe drugs or they are not fully disclosing all of the potentially dangerous side effects of a particular drug. In some cases the disclosures are not enough, though they show up in commercials and they’re too fast for you to hear her, they’re too small to read.
- In 2001 the entertainment industry was shocked when 22-year-old R&B singer and actress Aaliyah died in a plane crash along with eight other people. They had just finished a music video and her parents filed wrongful death claims against many parties involved, including the airway company and Virgin records for making unsafe transportation arrangements. The proof that they used in the lawsuit is that Virgin Records hired the airway company even though it had been cited four times within four years. The lawsuit also found that the pilot was both unqualified and inexperienced, as the crash occurred on the pilots’ stay with the company. The pilot was also not registered with or approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly the plane. The pilot was allegedly on cocaine and alcohol and had prior criminal charges related to drug use. The lawsuit also found that the aircraft was 700 pounds overloaded and had more than one passenger over the limit. Even the pilot commented that the plane was overloaded prior to takeoff.
- In 2006 the 21-year-old mother whose two-year-old son went missing was interviewed by CNN. The mother was not a suspect regarding the disappearance of her child, but a former prosecutor interrogated her live and insinuated that she knew where he was in that she may have killed him. Right before the show aired she killed herself. The family sued the prosecutor as they claim she had intentional infliction of emotional distress on the young mother. The money from this settlement was donated to the national Center for missing and exploited children.
Misconceptions Concerning Wrongful Death Cases
It’s tragic when someone you love dies. It’s even more heartbreaking when the cause of death was another’s negligence. When this happens, consider filing a lawsuit. Speak with a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL. Together, you can decide whether moving ahead with litigation makes sense. Consulting an expert can clear up a host of misunderstandings that discourage people from filing suits.
These Cases Are Motivated by Greed
Money is only one reason litigants file for wrongful death. Another is to hold the individual at fault responsible. Monetary punishment pushes people to change their behavior. Even the threat of being brought before a judge may be enough to discourage someone from acting unwisely. Additionally, the funds awarded to plaintiffs are often necessary. The individual who passed may have provided vital income on which family members relied. The attorneys who work at Needle & Ellenburg, P.A. understand the financial struggle that can develop after someone unexpectedly expires.
These Cases Have No Time Limit
Wrongful death suits are subject to statutes of limitations. Because of this, there’s a limited time with which plaintiffs can file lawsuits. Where you live, as well as the circumstances surrounding the incident in question, impact the filing deadline. Hire a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL, and verify how quickly you must act.
These Cases Are Satisfied by Insurance
Insurance companies do whatever they can to refuse claimants’ payments. Despite their snappy advertising and marketing materials that make it appear they’re looking out for victims, their reason for existence is to make a profit. The less they pay, the happier they are. The dollar figures these corporate behemoths offer are typically unsatisfactory. You can negotiate a better settlement by taking a knowledgeable approach. Work with a representative from the law offices of Needle & Ellenburg, P.A. for optimal results.
These Cases Are Manageable Without a Lawyer
Wrongful death is a complex area of the law. Under most circumstances, it isn’t clear that someone is at fault. You are much better off having a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL, representing you when you go to trial. This person is familiar with the arguments the defense is likely to make and knows how to counter the most common assertions. An attorney can also be a shoulder to cry on when emotions take over. It’s a lot to handle when someone you love dies from unforeseen circumstances. Allow a professional to take care of the legal side of the equation.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
From car accidents to plane crashes and fatal birth injuries, all of these tragedies could have been avoided. While no amount of money can ever bring back a loved one, it can help with the financial burden that comes with a sudden loss. Funeral expenses, estate distribution, taxes, and even debts that were accrued through medical care can all be covered with the right amount of compensation, and a wrongful death lawyer can help you get the money you deserve.
In the event of a tragedy like a wrongful death of a loved one, you shouldn’t be slammed with expenses. A sudden loss that could have been avoided can leave you lost and unsure of what to do next. You might feel angry, betrayed, and a million other emotions – but you should never give up on justice. Reach out to a qualified wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL, from Needle & Ellenberg, P.A., and focus on grieving properly, instead of making ends meet.
Potential Wrongful Death Claim Damages
A wrongful death lawyer Orlando, FL provides can review your case and offer an overview of what damages you may include in your claim. In many instances, the claim takes into account the losses of the surviving loved one related to the victim’s passing. Such losses may include any or all of the following:
- The total earnings the deceased would have earned in their lifetime
- The dollar value of the benefits (including health insurance) and work bonuses the deceased would have earned in their lifetime
- The cost of the medical care (including medications, surgery, etc.) undertaken in the attempt to save the deceased’s life
- The loss of the deceased’s contributions to the surviving family member’s life such as vehicle repairs, household duties, etc. as a dollar amount
Are You Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. An Orlando, FL wrongful death lawyer can review the circumstances of your case to better determine whether it has merit. A licensed attorney may help determine if you’re eligible based on your relationship to the deceased. The following relationships may allow for eligibility:
- Spouse/partner. If the deceased is survived by a spouse or a common law spouse, then they may have the right to file a wrongful death suit. Florida doesn’t recognize common law marriages but it may recognize common law marriages previously established in other states in a wrongful death claim.
- Children. If the deceased does not have a spouse, the children may have the right to file a wrongful death suit but must divide the award equally among themselves.
- Parent. In the event that the deceased does not have a surviving spouse or any children, the parent may file a wrongful death suit.
- Estate. If the deceased left no surviving immediate family members, probate law dictates that their Estate can file a wrongful death suit. The award may then be given to the person’s next of kin.
How Does the Wrongful Death Claims Process Work?
The first part of the process typically involves identifying (or designating) a representative for the victim’s estate, then identifying and listing the victim’s survivors (typically family members who were dependent on the victim).
The representative next needs to establish or formally note the cause of death and who the at-fault party or parties may be. The representative then seeks a monetary settlement from those at fault. If no settlement is reached (as is typically the case), the personal representative can next pursue litigation.
Once the lawsuit has been set in motion, attorneys for both sides go through the discovery process, which involves gathering evidence, official statements from witnesses or others involved and anything else that may support their legal argument. As the case progresses, a trial date will eventually be set. Before that, however, the parties will meet to determine if they can reach a settlement. If they can, the case will usually end there. If they cannot, the case will proceed to trial.
Can Exploring My Legal Options Wait?
Unfortunately, you do not have much time to grieve before taking legal action. In Florida, the statute of limitations in most wrongful death cases is two years from the date of death. You must at least file the lawsuit within that period of time.
Even if there wasn’t such a limited window, you would likely want to file soon for practical reasons. Over time, evidence gets lost and memories fade. The sooner you take action, the better your opportunities to build a strong case.
Special Considerations if Your Loved One Died While on the Job
Under Florida law, workers’ compensation is typically considered the “exclusive remedy” for injuries and deaths that occur on the job. This means that, save for very rare circumstances, injury victims and their families cannot sue employers for workplace injuries and deaths. Instead, they can only seek workers’ compensation (injury or death) benefits.
Depending on the circumstances of the fatal accident, it may be possible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a third party in addition to seeking workers’ compensation death benefits. But you’ll need to discuss your options with an experienced attorney to determine whether this is possible in your particular case.
If your family member was killed in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may want to consult a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL promptly. Your family may be entitled to receive compensation. Here are some frequently asked questions about wrongful death cases.
Wrongful Death and Murder – What is the Difference?
A family member was assaulted and died from the injury inflicted. This is certainly a reason to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, Fl, but does it rise to the level of murder? And what is the difference?
The simple answer to this question is that wrongful death is a civil matter and murder is a criminal offense. Arguably, every murder is a wrongful death, but few wrongful death cases rise to the level of intentional murder.
The Key Difference is State of Mind
The definition of criminal murder is a narrow one: the intentional killing of one human being by another with malice aforethought. If it was planned ahead of time, it is murder in the first degree. Second-degree murder is one committed in the heat of the moment with the element of depraved indifference (i.e., John gets angry and assaults Joe using a deadly weapon without concern for the consequences).
The legal definition of third-degree murder varies from one state to another; Florida Statute 782.04 defines it as an unintentional killing that takes place while committing another crime. For example, John breaks into Joe’s house with the intent of stealing valuables; Joe surprises John. Startled, John grabs the nearest weapon and winds up killing him, though this may not have been his intent.
The bottom line: murder goes to the perpetrator’s state of mind at the time of the act. This by itself is not a reason to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, Fl.
Wrongful Death, Defined
On one hand, the legal definition of wrongful death is broader; it is the killing of one or more persons by another because of carelessness, negligence or incompetence. There is no intent. Indeed, the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit may not have been directly involved in the victim’s death. An example would be a piece of machinery killing Joe because John failed to maintain it properly.
That said, a murder may serve as a cause of action for a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the accused wins an acquittal or gets off on a technicality. Some people may remember the case of O.J. Simpson in the 1990s, who was found not guilty of murder in his criminal trial, but found liable for his victim’s deaths in the wrongful death lawsuit that followed. If you have lost a family member and believe someone else is responsible, contact a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, Fl.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUITS
If your family member was killed because of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you might have heard untruths about the process that are making you reluctant to sue. Here are some common myths about wrongful death lawsuits that you should not believe.
- Life insurance benefits are enough. If your loved one had a life insurance policy, that is good news. However, it still might not be enough to cover all the losses that resulted from the death. While it might cover the medical expenses and funeral costs, the life insurance policy might not pay for future lost wages. If your family member was the main breadwinner, a wrongful death lawsuit can recover future lost wages.
- You can file a wrongful death lawsuit at any time. When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is going to court. However, if you want to pursue damages for your loved one’s death, you can’t wait too long. In Florida, the statute to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. That’s why you should consult a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL as soon as possible.
- If it was an accident, I can’t file a wrongful death lawsuit. Intent is not required to file a wrongful death claim. For example, if a driver was speeding and unintentionally ran into your loved one’s vehicle and killed him or her, you still have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Wrongful death lawsuits are all about money. Obtaining compensation is certainly an important part of a wrongful death lawsuit. It can reduce some of the financial burden associated with a family member’s death. It can also hold people responsible for their negligent actions and discourage other people from acting negligently in the future.
- You don’t need a lawyer. Wrongful death lawsuits are very complex. Although you are not required to work with a lawyer, it is recommended that you do so. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your case and handle negotiations with the insurance company. With a skilled lawyer on your side, you have a better chance of receiving a fair settlement for your family member’s death.
CRIMINAL VS. CIVIL CHARGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH
There are a few common questions people have for their Orlando, Florida wrongful death lawyers. One of the most frequently asked is whether the person responsible for the death of a loved one is going to be sent to jail. While a wrongful death may be frustratingly obvious (and frustratingly avoidable) the punishments depend on the circumstances of the case, and whether a case is beng examined in civil or criminal court.
While your case may seem cut and dry to you, the court sees your case from a different perspective, and it’s up to you and your lawyer to present the facts. Read on to learn more about wrongful death, manslaughter, and how a wrongful death lawyer from Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. can help you get the compensation you deserve.
WRONGFUL DEATH? MANSLAUGHTER? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Wrongful death and manslaughter go hand in hand, and are two terms to describe the same action: Causing the death of someone else through negligence. However, wrongful death and manslaughter are approached by different courts, and the punishments vary as well.
Manslaughter is the term used to describe a wrongful death in a criminal court. A criminal court means the person responsible for the death is being charged by the state. Because manslaughter is a criminal charge and not a civil charge, there is little likelihood of the responsible party paying money to the family and estate of the person who has died. However, a person convicted of manslaughter will likely face jail time as well as hefty fines.
On the other hand, wrongful death is manslaughter’s civil court counterpart. If a person can’t be held criminally negligent, but their negligence still caused a death, they can be sued in a civil court by the family and estate of the deceased. A civil court means no criminal charges, but in the event of a successful lawsuit it does mean that the responsible party will have to pay financial damages.
There are rare instances in criminal cases in which the responsible party has to pay financial damages to the family of the deceased. However, this is a rare occurrence, and shouldn’t be counted on. If you lost a family member because of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a wrongful death lawyer.
It is important that you understand the various types of wrongful death claims and how those types of claims may differ from another type of wrongful death. This is because each wrongful death claim is in fact a wrongful death claim, but not every claim has the same type of rules as sometimes rules may override the generalized wrongful death status.
Vehicular accidents are the number one type of most common wrongful deaths, with pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents coming in second. This is because roadway accidents happen all the time and there is a lot of neglect on the roads in both driver and pedestrian placements.
After those two is premise liability accidents, which are accidents that happen on your property because you failed to warn the visitor or take care of the property in a reasonable fashion. These accidents typically fall into accidents like someone slipping and falling down stairs that had no railing, or someone stepping into an unmarked hole and becoming terribly injured or dying from their injuries after their fall.
Medical malpractice comes in fourth, which makes sense because everyone goes to the doctor. Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, hospital staffer, or nurse makes a mistake that causes you harm or causes your death. If someone should have taken better care to follow the standard of care for the patient and illness or disease they were treating, it can be proven and compensation can be received. This also accounts for pharmaceutical errors such as being prescribed the wrong medication, receiving the wrong dose at the pharmacy, or receiving the wrong medication at the pharmacy.
Accidental poisoning and overdose is next, and it is something you are not thinking about when you think of accidental death or wrongful death. But it does count. This could be receiving lead poisoning because your home is painted with lead paint, being poisoned because the hotel you’re staying in has a termite infestation, or something more. However the accidental poisoning or overdosing happened matters only so far as to prove it was not intentional. If the overdose is not accidental, or happens in the medical field, it will fall under the medical malpractice wrongful death suits, most likely.
Drowning and boating accidents come next in the tier, and oftentimes these accidents happen because someone does not know how to pilot the boat they’re on or they are acting negligent with a group of friends. However, proving that it was due to negligence and not simply negligence on one person’s fault, can save this case.
Last but not least are workplace accidents and illnesses that are caused by your workplace. This is especially common when you have people who work at mills, plants, or factories. It is also common if you have people working with chemicals of any kind. Even the “safest” of chemicals can cause an issue after longterm exposure, no matter the way you protect yourself.
Qualities of a Good Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Compassion. In many cases, individuals or families of those who have had a loved one pass are still reeling from grief and loss. This means one of the most important qualities in a good lawyer is going to be compassion. You need someone who can understand your grief and is sensitive to this tragedy that you have just gone through. To get the most case you need someone who understands this is a hard process to go through.
- Experience. Not all attorneys are going to have the experience or the expertise in this category. Wrongful death is a specific niche of legal practice that exists under the personal injury law umbrella. You need to find a lawyer that specializes in personal injury and wrongful death claims is this person is going to be the best equipped to help you through your process.
- Communication skills. It’s not easy to understand the legal process or the lingo that goes with it. A good lawyer is going to be able to break down these concepts and communicate them clearly. Not only that but the need to be able to answer questions as clearly as possible. You shouldn’t leave your lawyer’s office with more questions than answers.
- Approachability. Another important quality that your lawyer should have is that they are approachable. You need a lawyer you feel you can approach with any questions you might have towards the case. Just as importantly you need to know they can get in touch with your lawyer quickly and consistently throughout the whole lawsuit. You shouldn’t be left waiting for answers for days on end.
- Integrity and character. Another top-quality your lawyer should have is they should be a trustworthy person who will be honest and forthright in their dealings with you. This also means that they should have a clean record that is free of any disciplinary actions. You don’t want someone who has had disciplinary actions taken against them because often that is an ethical violation. Judges don’t typically work well with lawyers that have had disciplinary actions taken against them.
- Good rapport. You should always have a good rapport with your lawyer as you will need to develop a working relationship that could last month. This means before you hire your lawyer should try and get a sense of what they’re like and what it would be like working with them. Most lawyers offer free consultation and do you should take advantage of that as a way to get to know your lawyer. It is also a good time to ask for referrals from either previous clients or other professionals they work with.
If you are in need of a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL then reach out to The Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, P.A today to learn more about how we can help you.
CONTACT NEEDLE & ELLENBERG, P.A. TODAY
Any wrongful death is a tragedy. Knowing that your loved one died because someone was neglectful is completely outrageous, and the fact that the death was avoidable only makes things worse. While no amount of money will bring back a lost family member, getting financial compensation can help you gain an important sense of closure.
If you’ve lost a family member, it’s completely natural to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, sad, and angry. You’ll have a lot to take care of, from managing an estate to planning a funeral. And with each of these challenges comes serious expenses. It’s not right that you and your family have to pay out of pocket to recover from a tragedy: Contact a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL today, and see how Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. can help.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF WRONGFUL DEATH?
Wrongful death can have many different causes, including:
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
WHO CAN FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
Surviving family members can bring a lawsuit against the negligent party responsible for the decedent’s death. In the state of Florida, the decedent’s spouse, the decedent’s children and the decedent’s parents have a legal right to file a claim. After the initial beneficiaries have had the opportunity to file a claim, other relatives who relied on the deceased’s income may be able to file a claim.
What Happens if my Loved One was Partially at Fault for the Fatal Accident?
It is common for fault to be shared in personal injury and wrongful death cases (though usually not equally shared). Thankfully, victims and their families can still recover money. Florida recognizes a legal principle known as “comparative negligence.” This means that if both the defendant and the plaintiff are deemed liable for the accident, each side is assigned a percentage of responsibility.
If the plaintiffs win their case or settle, the amount of money they can collect will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim. Let’s say, for instance, that a family was seeking $100,000 in a wrongful death lawsuit. At trial, the jury determined that the victim was 15 percent at fault for the accident that led to his death. Because of this the plaintiffs could recover $85,000, which is the full amount reduced by the 15 percent that was attributed to the victim.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM IN A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed against the person or entity responsible for a person’s death. However, the negligent party’s insurance company that issued a liability policy to the defendant will generally be responsible for paying the settlement. For example, if your family member was killed in a car accident, the negligent driver’s auto insurance company would be responsible to pay the settlement.
WHAT TYPES OF DAMAGES ARE AVAILABLE IN A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT?
If your loved one was killed because of someone’s carelessness, your family may be entitled to receive a wide range of damages. A wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL may be able to help you obtain compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of the deceased’s expected income and loss of consortium.
HOW SOON DOES A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT HAVE TO BE FILED?
In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. After that deadline has passed, you will no longer be eligible to receive compensation. That’s why it’s essential to speak to a wrongful death lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
IS IT NECESSARY TO FILE A LAWYER?
If your loved one died because of someone else’s negligence, you might wonder if you should hire a wrongful death lawyer or not. Although you’re not required to, you definitely should. Wrongful death cases can be very complex, so you want to have someone knowledgeable and experienced on your side. A lawyer can help you obtain necessary evidence, identify key witnesses and negotiate with the insurance company.
ELEMENTS THAT NEED TO BE PROVEN IN A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT
Each Orlando, FL wrongful death lawyer at our firm understands that no amount of money will ever make up for the tragic death of a loved one, but we also find that these legal actions often help the families reach closure, while at the same time seeing that necessary actions are taken to make sure that no other family will ever have to suffer the same type of heartbreak.
When a loved one is killed in an accident, their family is often left with astronomical expenses that they simply do not have the money to pay. If the victim received any type of emergency treatment attempting to save their life, then the family is responsible for all of those medical costs. There is also the cost of funeral and burial expenses. Even more overwhelming can be the loss of financial support that the victim provided his or her family, especially if they were the primary wage earner in their family. In cases where the victim stayed home taking care of young children while their spouse worked, the family is now left with no one to care for the children.
In addition to the financial burdens placed on the family, there are also the emotional losses they suffer from the death of a loved one, including loss of companionship, mental anguish, and more.
All of these losses – both economic and non-economic – are losses that the party or parties responsible for the victim’s death are responsible for compensating the family for.
Wrongful death incidents can happen anytime and under any circumstances. The following are some of the more common types of incidents that a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL handles:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian and bike accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective or dangerous products
- Premises liability
- Workplace accidents
- Mass transit accidents
CONTACT OUR FIRM TODAY
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, contact The Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. today to find out how we can help. We can evaluate your situation and determine what the best legal options are. We can identify who the responsible parties are and what types of damages your family is entitled to.
In many of the wrongful death lawsuits we handle, the case never makes it to court because we are able to successfully negotiate a fair and just settlement with the other party. However, if they refuse to negotiate in good faith or fail to offer a full settlement amount, we will not hesitate to fully litigate your case to get you the compensation you deserve.
It is important to contact an Orlando FL wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible, regardless of any criminal charges the at-fault party may be facing. Under the laws of Florida, there is a statute of limitations for how long survivors have to file a lawsuit. We can determine what that time frame is in your case. Call today for a free consultation.
Wrongful Death Lawyer Orlando, FL
If you have recently lost a loved one due to what you believe is someone else’s negligence then contacting a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL is the right step for you. For many people in this situation, the idea of hiring a wrongful death lawyer is often overwhelming and emotionally taxing. One of the biggest questions is how do you find a good and qualified wrongful death lawyer.
During such an emotional time it can be hard to figure out what you really need and what is best to avoid. We put together a list of qualities to help you find a lawyer that is going to suit your needs.
Legal Assistance Is Available
Contact the Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. today to speak with a qualified and licensed wrongful death lawyer Orlando, FL families trust.
Client Review“Needle & Ellenberg, P.A., is the premier medical malpractice firm in Miami. Andrew Needle and Andrew Ellenberg are highly skilled, super intelligent, compassionate and caring attorneys who always have their clients’ best interests at heart. I give the firm my highest recommendation.” Pedro Polanco