Losing a beloved family member is heartbreaking under any circumstances, but learning that your loved one's death was caused by someone else's intentional act or negligence can be even more traumatic and difficult to accept. If you and your family relied on this loved one's income and support, you could find your grief compounded by serious financial concerns. One thing is certain: This isn't what your loved one would have wanted.
As hard as it is to think about taking legal action, you may have the right to compensation for your losses. When someone is killed as a result of another person's malicious actions, negligence, or breach of contract, Florida law allows their surviving family members to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
At Louis Berk Law, our skilled and compassionate Orlando wrongful death attorney has helped many families navigate the Sunshine State's civil court system and obtain the compensation they need and deserve. We might be able to do the same for you. Here's what you need to know about wrongful death cases in Florida.
Florida Wrongful Death Case Basics
Considering taking legal action against the person or company responsible for your loved one's wrongful death? Find out if you have standing to file or benefit from this type of lawsuit and what you'll have to prove in order to collect damages. Here are the basics:
- Who can file a wrongful death claim. The law requires that this type of lawsuit be filed by the personal representative for the deceased person's estate. This representative may be named in the decedent's will; in the absence of these documents, a personal representative can be appointed by the court.
- Who can benefit in a wrongful death case. Compensation recovered in a wrongful death case benefits the deceased person's estate and surviving spouse, children, and parents, as well as any blood relative or adoptive sibling who relied on the decedent for support.
- What you'll have to prove to recover damages. You must show that the defendant owed your family member a duty of care and breached that duty, which directly caused your loved one's wrongful death. You must also prove your financial losses.
- How long you have to take legal action. Florida's statute of limitations for wrongful death cases gives the personal representative just two years to file a lawsuit or risk having their claim dismissed.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful deaths can arise from any number of negligent or malicious actions. At Louis Berk Law, we accept a wide range of wrongful death cases, including those involving:
- Car accidents
- Truck crashes
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous or defective products
- Dog bites or animal attacks
- Assaults or accidents on unsafe property
What You Could Recover
Florida law allows for both the deceased person's estate and surviving family members to recover damages in a wrongful death case. Eligible family members may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical or funeral expenses they've paid in relation to the victim's death
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings the victim would have contributed to the family
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering (for the loss of a child)
- Loss of companionship and protection (for the loss of a spouse)
- Loss of education expenses and other support provided by the victim
The estate may also be able to recover damages for:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings (including those the victims could have been reasonably expected to earn during their lifetime)
- Value of the earnings the estate could have reasonably accumulated if the victim had survived
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by the estate
How an Attorney Can Help
Wrongful death cases are complex. You need an experienced attorney who knows the relevant laws inside and out and has a track record of success to prove their skill. A trusted attorney can help you:
- Explore your legal rights and options
- Investigate your loved one's death
- Gather and preserve important evidence
- Handle communications between you and the defendant's insurance company and defense attorneys
- Negotiate and evaluate settlement agreements
- Take your case to court, if necessary
Worried you can't afford an attorney? At Louis Berk Law, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront fees, and if we don't win your case, you don't pay.
Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case With a Compassionate and Capable Orlando Attorney
Contact Louis Berk Law today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your case with a member of our legal team.