Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers
Anytime a loved one dies, families and loved ones suffer a painful loss. However, when someone else’s carelessness or neglect caused the death, family members bear the added pain of knowing their loved one’s death may not have happened if the responsible parties had taken proper care.
If your loved one has died due to someone else’s negligence, lawyers at Freedland Harwin Valori, LP want you to know you are not alone. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to deliver an optimal outcome in your case.
No amount of money can replace what you have lost. However, your family deserves compensation for the loss. That includes wages and support that your loved provided to help pay everyday bills both in the present and future. During this time of grief, you shouldn’t have to suffer the burden of medical bills and funeral costs. Our attorneys have secured large settlements in many cases like yours, and we will fight to ensure financial strain doesn’t compound your tragedy. Let our attorneys work on behalf of you and your family.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Wrongful Death
Corporate attorneys and insurance companies know that wrongful death suits can be very costly. The lawyers protecting the interests of those companies will try to minimize the compensation to your family. An experienced attorney on your side levels the playing field.
Calculating the damages you may be entitled to after a wrongful death can be complex and may even require expert testimony to establish potential earnings over a lifetime. We will calculate the actual damages you may be entitled to recover. Often there are losses you have not even considered. We will be able to help you arrive at a reasonable figure to expect as compensation.
In the aftermath of a loved one’s death, it is not uncommon to simply want to bring the matter to a close as quickly as possible. However, to protect your family’s interests, it is important to avoid settling for a quick offer that does nor properly compensate you for the loss. We will fight for your family while you are dealing with the emotional aftermath of the tragedy.
Unless it is clear at the outset that the death was a criminal act, police may not preserve the evidence surrounding the circumstances of your loved one’s death. We have the experience and resources to see to it that police preserve necessary evidence to demonstrate the facts of your case.
You need to understand that Florida has strict guidelines as to how long you have to file a wrongful death claim. Certain circumstances can extend or curtail the time you have to file a claim, and your attorney will have the expertise to navigate the legal requirements to see that the courts don’t dismiss your case due to a missing technical detail.
Who Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Suit in Florida?
A legal representative of the deceased person’s estate must bring the wrongful death claim. This person may be in the decedent’s will or estate plan. However, if he or she named no legal representative, the court will appoint a legal representative for the estate. The wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of the surviving family members and the estate of the deceased.
The spouse and children (with some exceptions)of the victim can recover damages in a wrongful death suit. Depending on the circumstances, the parents may also recover damages. Also depending on the circumstances, anyone related by blood or an adopted sibling may recover damages as well, if they were wholly or partly dependent on the deceased for support.
The law also entitles children of an unmarried parent to recover damages, if the deceased person acknowledged them as their own before his or her death. The wrongful death claim must name all family members who may stand to benefit as part of the claim.
Florida Accidental Death Statistics
Florida has a higher than average number of accidental deaths than the rest of the country. In fact, for people ages 1 to 44, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death. Accidental death is the 5th leading cause of death overall for Floridians as well.
In 2016, there were 12,522 accidental deaths in Florida. This number is a significant increase over 2015 and is the highest number of accidental deaths in the state going back to at least 1997.
Motor vehicle deaths were the most common cause of accidental death in the state. Poisoning was a close second in causing accidental deaths.
Should I Pursue a Claim
In the aftermath of your loved one’s passing, pursuing a difficult and potentially complicated legal battle may not be something in which you are particularly eager to engage. There are a number of factors to consider in making the decision to pursue a wrongful death claim.
If the deceased provided financial support for your family, how will you replace that lost income? Most of us depend on the income of one or more family members to meet current financial obligations and the sudden loss of income can result in financial hardship and strain on your family.
In the final days or hours of your loved one’s life, he or she likely received expensive medical treatment. Medical expenses often quickly exceed a family’s ability to pay – especially if their loved one hasn’t been able to earn any wages. When those expenses are the result of carelessness or negligence, the law entitles you to receive support from the negligent party.
Funerals in America are not inexpensive. The average cost of a funeral can easily exceed $11,000 – a cost most families are not prepared to pay on short notice. While saying goodbye to your loved one with dignity is your primary consideration, the expense of the funeral is not one you should have to bear alone, especially when the deceased died due to someone else’s fault.
Providing monetary compensation for your economic losses is a recognition of the fact that no amount of money could replace what you have lost. In fact, many clients choose to pursue a wrongful death claim primarily because they desire the closure of having someone admit officially that what happened to their loved one was not right and should not have happened.
While the decision to pursue a wrongful death claim is ultimately about your personal willingness to follow through on the process of seeking compensation, protecting the long-term interests of your family is equally important. While in the midst of the tragedy, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that life will now go on without your loved one. Unfortunately, financial losses often accompany a loved one’s death. Pursuing a wrongful death claim may be necessary to prevent a financial tragedy from following this personal tragedy.
Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death
One of the most common causes of wrongful death is car accidents. In 2016 in Florida, 3,176 people died in automobile accidents. This is an increase of almost 9% over 2015 and continues a trend of increasing fatalities in auto accidents in Florida. Speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are the most common causes of accidents. The negligence of other drivers kills far too many people each year.
Medical malpractice is another leading cause of wrongful death. Doctors and hospitals have a greater duty of care, due to their extensive training and expertise. However, when these trusted professionals neglect to take reasonable care to ensure your health or safety, death is all too often the result. When you think of medical malpractice, you may think of improper actions doctors take, such as operating on the wrong person or prescribing the wrong medicine. However, failing to properly diagnose a condition, or prescribe the proper course of treatment, can often be the primary cause of death in a medical malpractice case.
The workplace can dangerous for many workers, especially those in careers like construction. Employers have an obligation to take all reasonable precautions to ensure workers have a safe and healthy workplace. When they don’t take reasonable safety measures, the result is often the tragic loss of a life.
Wrongful Death Claim Vs Survival Action
Many people confuse a wrongful death claim with a survival action. While a wrongful death claim seeks to recover damages for family members after the loss of a loved one, a survival action is a lawsuit the family files on behalf of the deceased person after his or her death. If the deceased person could have brought a personal injury suit for medical expenses, pain and suffering, or lost wages, his or her representative may bring suit to collect for the estate for those damages.
If your loved one’s death was painful, and he or she suffered, the estate and the decedent’s heirs may collect damages for that pain and suffering – even though the loved one wasn’t able to survive to claim those damages. Reach out to us today. We can assess your situation and advise you whether you can file a survival action on behalf of your loved one.