Losing a loved one is never easy. Experiencing this loss due to someone else’s negligence adds another layer of pain to the grieving. If you or your family relied on the deceased financially, your grief accompanies serious financial concerns. There is an extremely complex legal process that you have to go through in order to get compensation for your suffering. If you find yourself facing such a situation in Orlando, understanding wrongful death claims can make a crucial difference in navigating this difficult time.
Here are some frequently asked questions to guide you:
What Is Considered A Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the legal term that is used to describe a situation in which the negligence, recklessness, or misconduct of another party causes an individual’s death at the hands of another. This case can arise from various situations, like vehicular accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, etc. Some of the most popular types of wrongful death are:
● Auto accidents: These accidents involve two or more parties. It takes place on the roads and can be extremely serious, too.
● Pedestrian & bicycle accidents: These accidents occur when a vehicle hits a pedestrian or a bicycle. It can be due to the poor construction of the road or a distracted individual. The result of this type of accident is usually severe, with the pedestrian being extremely injured, and may even result in death.
● Dangerous & defective products: People may need surgeries due to their health problems. One of the most popular solutions is the use of implants and other medical devices. These implants can have defects in their package, and
● Dog bites or animal attacks: Bites from dogs or any other animals can be extremely harmful to humans. It can cause infection and even rabies. If the dog is a personal pet, the owner is liable to pay for the victim’s compensation.
● Medical Malpractice: This occurs when a healthcare professional deviates from the accepted norms of the practice and causes harm to the patient. It can include lack of skill, negligence, or failure to provide proper diagnosis and treatment.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file for a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative is usually named in the deceased’s will or estate plan. In case of situations where there is no will, the court will appoint a personal representative.
The close representatives who may file a claim for wrongful death are:
● The decedent’s children
● The decedent’s spouse
● The decedent’s parents
● The decedent’s dependent blood relatives
● The decedent’s adoptive brothers or sisters
● A child born outside of wedlock of a mother
he family members have 2 years from the date of death to file a claim or compensation.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
The Florida law system recognizes two types of damages in case of wrongful death claims:
● Economic Damages: This covers the measurable financial impact of the death. It includes the cost of medical treatment incurred before the death and funeral expenses that resulted from the death. It also includes the loss of the deceased’s income and support. Some complex calculations are required to establish the amount of money the victim would have provided to his/her family. The court takes into account the following:
○ Age of the deceased
○ Their health condition before their death
○ Earning capacity
○ Needs of the children
○ Other factors that are related to the case
● Non-Economic Damages: This includes the love, companionship, affection, and nurturing that the relations of the deceased are missing from their lives. It requires a highly skilled wrongful death claim lawyer to express the desolation, emotional stress, pain, and suffering that the death of the family member will bring to the claimant. Establishing a monetary amount for this suffering is difficult, so it is essential to get an attorney you can trust.
● Punitive Damages: These are the legal payments that a court orders a defendant to pay in addition to compensatory damages. They are intended to punish the defendant for intentional or grossly negligent conduct and to deter the defendant and others from similar behavior.
What Evidence Is Needed For A Wrongful Death Claim?
The strength of your claim depends on the evidence you can gather. This includes:
● Proof of death: Death certificate and official records.
● Proof of negligence: Accident reports, photos and videos of the accident scene, police documents, witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony.
● Proof of damages: Bills, receipts, pay stubs, tax returns, and evidence of emotional distress.
● Relationship to the deceased: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents establishing your eligibility to file the claim.
How Long Do I Have To File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida has a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. This means the claimant must file their claim within two years of the date of the death, or their right to do so may be lost. There are few exceptions to this rule, so it’s crucial to act swiftly and consult with an attorney.
Do I Need A Lawyer For A Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are critical legal matters. They can be emotionally challenging for the representatives of the deceased. Navigating the evidence, legal procedures, and negotiations with insurance companies can be overwhelming during a time of grief. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and maximize your chances of recovering fair compensation. In case of a large vehicular accident, the representative, along with the Truck Accident Lawyer in Orlando, should be present in the court.
Can I Settle A Wrongful Death Claim Out of Court?
Yes, many wrongful death cases in Florida are settled out of court by negotiating with the insurance company of the defendant. Settlements can offer quicker resolution and avoid the uncertainties of a trial. However, it’s essential to discuss your options with your lawyer to ensure any settlement offer is fair and in your best interests. If any of the surviving members is a minor, the court will have to approve the settlement.
The Bottom Line
Remember, losing a loved one is a deeply emotional experience. While this information provides a general overview of wrongful death claims in Orlando, Florida, consulting with a qualified attorney at Louis Berk Law is crucial for personalized guidance and navigating the legal process effectively. They can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, build a strong case, and secure the compensation you deserve.