Wrongful Death Attorney
For most people who experience the loss of a family member through negligence, grieving and adjusting to the loss are higher priorities than thinking about a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, investigators and lawyers for the defense will be reviewing the evidence of the accident scene right away in order to keep their exposure to liability at a minimum.
Personal Injury Lawyer Experienced in Wrongful Death Claims
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is the death of someone as a result of negligence. For example, a medical professional may make a prescription error that may contribute to the patient’s death. A property owner may not have detected his/her property for dangerous conditions (such as a broken staircase), thereby causing a guest’s death. In any case, wrongful death is preventable. When people (especially professionals) fail to adhere to the basic levels of care, and the conditions cause a person to die, his/her family may file a wrongful death lawsuit. The wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against the person or corporation who is at fault for the death.
At the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A., we know how to take prompt action to protect the family’s interests while maintaining respect for your loss and protecting you from the burdens and stresses of civil litigation. We also serve as a resource to help you with matters related to life insurance, survivors’ benefits, probate and all of the other bureaucratic demands that a sudden death in the family can generate.
Filing A Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death cases can be tricky. Because the decedent is unable to advocate for himself/herself, a legitimate person (i.e. spouse, child, attorney, guardian, financial representative, etc.) is responsible for doing so. After establishing who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, it is imperative that a personal injury lawyer is contacted.
For your wrongful death claim to be successful, it will have to be proven in a court of law that the person who is at fault for the death knowingly behaved (or knowingly did not act in accord with standards of care) to cause the decedent's death. Thorough investigations, testimonial support, and aggressive advocacy will be necessary in order to both prove that the person, company, or organization is at fault for the wrongful death and to receive benefits and compensation.
Florida Wrongful Death Laws
In the state of Florida, there is a specific wrongful death statute of limitations that governs when and how wrongful death cases and wrongful death claims should be handled. Florida law provides that a wrongful death claim should be filed no longer than two years after the date of the death. If a wrongful death claim is filed after this time period, the wrongful death case will not be considered. It is important to contact a wrongful death attorney for assistance with understanding Florida’s wrongful death laws to ensure that your claim will not be perceived as null and void.
Wrongful Death Cases in Orlando and Central Florida
We tailor our services to the unique demands of your family because we recognize that your needs and priorities can change over time as you come to grips with your loss. In the meantime, we work hard to protect your legal and practical interests in the investigation of the liability and damages issues related to a deadly motorcycle crash or other fatal accident.
Our law firm represents families in Florida wrongful death actions resulting from a variety of causes:
For more information about our ability to support your family and protect your legal interests, contact our office in Altamonte Springs.
Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
After the death of a loved one, do I have the right to make a claim?
Yes. If you are an immediate family member, such as the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased individual, you have the legal right to make a claim. Before doing so, contact a wrongful death attorney in Orlando, FL.
How is a wrongful death suit filed?
Wrongful death claims usually begin at the negotiation level, in which your Orlando wrongful death lawyer attempts to demand a settlement from the at-fault party. If this is unsuccessful, a wrongful death suit can be filed against the at-fault party through submission of a complaint with a court of law.
How is wrongful death defined?
Wrongful death occurs when an individual dies as a result of the actions or negligence of another individual or entity. A wrongful death lawsuit allows surviving members to gain compensation for their losses.
Isn’t murder and wrongful death the same?
No. Murder is considered a criminal act, while wrongful death is categorized under civil cases. Murder is usually done with explicit intent. Wrongful death, on the other hand, is the result of the reckless behavior or negligence of an individual or entity.
Do surviving members have any entitlements in wrongful death cases?
Yes. Survivors have the right to pursue wrongful death claims. They are entitled to a fair settlement that takes into account the medical expenses of the deceased individual during his/her dying stages, the monetary resources of the deceased individual (or what the deceased individual would have made if he/she were still alive), and general pain and suffering (including the evident loss of companionship).
What type of damages may I be able to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?
You may be able to recover economic damages and noneconomic damages.
What type of economic damages are survivors entitled to in wrongful death cases?
- Medical, burial and injury-related expenses
- The deceased individual’s lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Lost benefits
- Lost goods and services
- Lost inheritances
How is a person’s future earnings calculated?
The court determines what a deceased individual’s future earnings would have been had an injury not resulted in death. The court will consider the deceased person’s age, education level, and overall ability to work to calculate what his or her future earnings would have been.
How can a death be considered wrongful?
A death is considered wrongful when it is the result of the negligence or reckless acts of others. It is considered wrongful because it could have been avoided and prevented.
How do I prove medical negligence?
Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, is provable through evidence that supports the following:
- A clear medical professional-patient relationship;
- A medical professional acted negligently;
- The medical professional’s negligence contributed to an injury;and
- The injury resulted in damages.
Contact our personal injury law firm to learn more about medical negligence cases.
Who has the right to bring forth a wrongful death case?
Immediate family members (children, spouses, parents), other family members (siblings, grandparents), life partners and financial dependents have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death case.
How do courts determine the amount of damages?
Economic damages are determined by a deceased individual’s medical, injury and burial-related expenses, lost wages, and his or her future earning capacity.
How are damages divided when heirs are involved?
Courts will typically expect the deceased person’s family members to determine how the settlement will be divided among multiple heirs. If not, the court will make the decision.
What statute of limitations governs wrongful death claims?
Every state has a designated timeframe in which survivors are legally able to file wrongful death claims. Florida’s statute of limitations regarding wrongful death claims allow an individual a total of four years to pursue a claim after a death.
Is it possible to pursue punitive damages in wrongful death action?
No. Wrongful death cases are civil, not criminal. As a result, punitive damages that are meant to punish the at-fault party are not recoverable.
Do I need to hire an attorney to pursue a wrongful death case?
Yes. Your case is most likely to be successful with legal representation.
Are heirs able to hire separate attorneys?
Yes. But, please be aware that this may result in added complications among survivors. It is best to work these things out with each other.
What is the first thing that I need to do to pursue a wrongful death claim?
Visit a wrongful death attorney to discuss your case.
How much are wrongful death case evaluations?
At the Law Offices of Michael B. Brehne, P.A., we offer free initial consultations for wrongful death cases.
What if the deceased person never held a job?
You can still pursue a wrongful death claim. It does not matter if the deceased individual was unemployed at the time of his/her death. Courts will still compensate survivors for the deceased individual’s loss of future earning capacities as determined by several factors.
Is it possible to bring a wrongful death action on the death of a child or an elderly person?
Yes. However, you may be provided with a modest settlement award.
Will I have to go to court if I bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit?
Yes. Court proceedings are a part of the process.
What qualities should I look for in selecting a wrongful death attorney?
You want an attorney that specializes in and has experience with wrongful death cases and laws pertaining to them. You should also look for someone who is trustworthy and has your best interests in mind.
Are recovered wrongful death damages taxable?
What can I sue for in a wrongful death case?
You can sue for pain and suffering, lost wages, lost earning power, and medical and burial expenses.
Who is responsible for medical bills and funeral expenses in a wrongful death case?
If your case is successful, the opposing party (or the opposing party’s insurer) is responsible for your medical fees and the burial costs of the deceased individual.
What if I am unable to afford a lawyer?
Most lawyers operate on contingency fees in wrongful death cases. This means that you will be represented without an initial payment. If your case is successful, the attorney will collect a small percentage of your settlement. If your case is unsuccessful, you are not required to provide any sort of payment or compensation.
Is it possible to sue a city or government agency for a wrongful death?
Yes. Speak to a wrongful death attorney first to discuss your case.
Do you represent clients against drug companies?
Most drug companies provide clear and visible warnings to customers. However, if you believe that a drug company’s negligence has resulted in the death of your loved one, visit our firm so that we can discuss your case. While it is rare, it is not impossible.
Is a work-related wrongful death only covered by workers’ compensation?
It is possible to pursue a workers’ compensation claim and a wrongful death lawsuit.
Are state wrongful death laws identical?
My loved one died from a gunshot wound. Should I seek compensation through a criminal case or a wrongful death case?
A criminal case will likely not result in the same level of compensation for survivors as a wrongful death case. We recommend pursuing a criminal lawsuit and a wrongful death claim, especially if there are children involved who were dependent on your deceased loved one.
How much time do I have to bring a wrongful death lawsuit?
In Florida, you must bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit within four years of the death.
How are personal injury claims and wrongful death claims different?
Personal injury claims involve compensation for one’s serious injuries and disabilities. Wrongful death claims provide compensation for survivors of a deceased individual. Both personal injury claims and wrongful death claims are pursued on the basis of the negligence of an individual or entity.
What occurs if there are minors who are surviving heirs?
The court will distribute funds accordingly. Usually, minors receive awards at the age of 18. Parents can also opt to pursue guardianship in order to gain access.
How does the process of a wrongful death case work?
Wrongful death cases involve:
- Official complaints filed with a court and demand letters;
- Negotiations (in order to reach a settlement);
- Trial and court proceedings (if a settlement is unreachable);and
- Appeals (if you are unhappy with the court’s decision).
What elements are required to bring a wrongful death case forward?
Evidence in wrongful death cases should support the following:
- A third party’s negligence;
- A death;and
- A correlation between the death and the negligence.
Visit our Orlando law firm to learn more about wrongful death claims and the rights that you are entitled to as a surviving member.