What Types of Lawyers Handle Wrongful Death Claims? | What Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do?
They can collect evidence, determine who is responsible for your loved one's death, build a case, and assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve.
What Types of Lawyers Handle Wrongful Death Claims?
A wrongful death claim can be handled by any kind of attorney. While any lawyer qualified to practise law in your state is able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, you may want to look for a lawyer with experience and competence handling those kinds of cases. You might gain more from that in-depth understanding than someone who represents clients in a variety of legal situations.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney Who Specializes in Wrongful Death Cases
The legal system is extensive, including everything from forgery and murder to real estate and civil liability. Every problem contains pertinent legislation and court cases that occasionally change, despite the fact that the majority of attorneys have a firm fundamental understanding of many different legal matters. In comparison to an attorney whose practise is more comprehensive, a wrongful death attorney who has decided to concentrate on one field will most likely have a more thorough history and grasp of that legal area.
Choosing how much compensation to seek in a wrongful death case can be difficult. Surviving relatives may be entitled to a financial award to cover:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- The deceased person’s lost income
- Loss of an inheritance
- Loss of services your loved one would have provided
- Loss of affection, support, and companionship
Some of those losses can be particularly difficult to quantify, but an attorney with experience handling wrongful death cases understands how to approach those delicate questions and seek justice.
A settlement from an insurance company may be offered to your family, but it may not adequately compensate you for your losses. Insurers strive to protect their bottom line by settling cases for the least amount of money possible. Family members are frequently unaware of how much compensation they may be entitled to. Calculating a fair settlement in a wrongful death case is a complicated process that necessitates a thorough examination of numerous factors. A lawyer with experience handling wrongful death claims can help you determine the appropriate level of compensation for your situation.
Laws That May Apply to Your Claim
No matter where they occur, wrongful death cases generally follow the same rules. In a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must show:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent.
- They breached that duty of care.
- The family member died as a result.
- The plaintiff suffered damages due to the death.
In addition, state regulations vary greatly in a number of important areas.
For instance, some states limit wrongful death lawsuits to those brought by the surviving spouse and small children. In some areas, siblings, grown children, distant relatives, and those who were not family members could bring a wrongful death claim.
Some states prohibit family members from bringing wrongful death claims; instead, the executor or personal representative of the decedent's estate must do so and distribute any monetary settlement to eligible family members. An attorney that focuses on wrongful death claims in your state will be knowledgeable about relevant legislation and be able to identify potential plaintiffs.
Statutes of limitations vary between states as well. Plaintiffs have a finite window of opportunity to bring a claim and seek redress. State-by-state variations in those times may result in some exclusions that prolong the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations might be tolled, for instance, if a doctor made a mistake that caused a patient to pass away too soon but wasn't discovered until years later. Therefore, rather than when the injury actually happened, the clock might start ticking when it was discovered.
An attorney who specialises in wrongful death cases in your state can explain the statute of limitations, let you know how much time you have to file a claim before it is too late, and ensure that you submit your claim by the appropriate deadline to preserve your legal options.
A Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You Seek Justice
A group of lawyers at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, have handled wrongful death cases for clients all over the country. Our wrongful death lawyers are knowledgeable about wrongful death, the statute of limitations, medical malpractice, and other pertinent laws that apply in each state. They can compile evidence, establish responsibility for your loved one's death, develop a case, and assist you in pursuing the settlement you are due.
Without going to court, a settlement could be negotiated by a lawyer. If that isn't possible, your lawyer can opt to go to trial in order to get your family justice.
You don't need to be concerned about the expense of filing a wrongful death claim. Law firm Ben Crump, PLLC, works on a contingency basis. Your family won't have to pay anything upfront for us to represent you. Only if we win an award for you do we receive payment from our firm.
Although statutes of limitations are strict, the grieving family who strives to go forward despite feeling overwhelmed may lose sight of time. Your state's deadline may prevent you from suing if you miss it. Call (800) 593-3443 to talk with a member of the Ben Crump Law, PLLC team about how we could handle your wrongful death claim now.
What Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do?
A wrongful death lawyer represents families who have lost a loved one as a result of another party's negligence or wrongful act in civil lawsuits. A wrongful death occurs "when a person's death is caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty," according to Florida Statute 768.19. The estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in these situations.
Lawyers who handle wrongful death cases frequently have prior experience with personal injury cases in addition to these civil lawsuits. A wrongful death lawyer at Dolman Law Group can assist your family in holding liable parties financially liable for the losses you have endured. To go over your legal options in greater detail, we provide free consultations. To find out more about what a wrongful death lawyer does, keep reading.
Qualifications for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
One of the most important responsibilities of a wrongful death lawyer is to establish that the surviving family has a legal basis for suing the negligent party for damages. A wrongful death claim must generally include the decedent's ability to bring a personal injury claim if they had lived. In other words, the decedent could have filed a personal injury lawsuit based on the circumstances of the accident.
Also Read: What Is Insurance? Insurance, Car insurance
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
According to Florida law, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought by the estate's personal representative. A person designated in the decedent's will is one possible personal representative. The court will choose a personal representative if there is no will.
In order to file a civil lawsuit, the personal representative may get in touch with a wrongful death attorney after being identified. The personal representative files the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased and their surviving family members.
All survivors who may receive compensation from any settlement must be listed in the wrongful death lawsuit that person filed. Legal actions for wrongful death may be brought on behalf of a surviving parent, spouse, child, or other blood relative who depended on the deceased for support. Spouses and children are usually the main beneficiaries. A child of an unmarried person may also benefit if the deceased parent was known to them before they were born and was helping to provide for them.
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Providing Evidence in Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In order to be successful in a wrongful death lawsuit, similar requirements must be met, just like in a personal injury case. It's crucial to realise that the person who caused your loved one's death did not necessarily need to be prosecuted.
Is Legality Important in Determining Liability?
Take liability in a fatal Florida car accident involving a drunk driver as an illustration. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that in 2018, more than 3,000 people died in traffic accidents, 10% of which involved drunk drivers.
Driving while intoxicated is considered negligence in law. Driving after consuming alcohol or drugs is choosing to put other people in danger. A wrongful death lawsuit may be based on a death brought on by a car accident involving a drunk driver. Any civil court personal injury claim would probably gain more credibility if there were a criminal conviction.
However, proving guilt in a wrongful death case does not necessitate the responsible party's criminal liability. Despite the fact that the doctor's actions are not regarded as criminal, civil liability is frequently provided in medical malpractice cases. For instance, a doctor might have misdiagnosed cancer and the delay in treatment led to the death of your loved one.
Failure to diagnose cancer by the medical staff is not a crime. However, costs and losses brought on by the patient's passing could result in the treatment centre being held liable in court.
Proving the Chain of Causation in a Wrongful Death Claim
Although it is not a requirement for a wrongful death claim, you must be able to demonstrate that the person's actions were careless, negligent, or intentional. Additionally, you must demonstrate that the person's careless, malicious, or negligent actions were the direct cause of the demise of your loved one.
Additionally, you must demonstrate that the death caused you or a member of your family to suffer harm. To establish negligence, one must show that the person who caused the death did not take reasonable precautions.
What Qualifies as Reasonable Care in a Personal Injury Claim?
By exercising reasonable care, a person means acting in a way that any other person might have done in the same situation. For instance, a driver may slow down or even come to a complete stop when approaching a pedestrian in a crosswalk. In these situations, prudent drivers slow down or stop their car until the pedestrian is out of the way.
A driver who is distracted by a text message and fails to notice the pedestrian in the crosswalk is not acting reasonably. Texting and driving, in other words, may be considered negligent behaviour. To summarise, texting and driving is negligent behaviour because a reasonable person understands that driving while distracted is dangerous and irresponsible.
For a free legal consultation, call 866-481-4691
Connecting Negligence to Accident Injury in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawyer must first establish negligence before proving that the behaviour caused your loved one to pass away. Using the same example, the driver failed to notice the pedestrian because they were texting. The pedestrian was killed as a result of the collision because they failed to stop the car in time.
In this instance, the pedestrian's death was brought on by the driver's carelessness. You might have a case for a wrongful death claim in this circumstance. A person won't be held accountable if it can't be proven that their actions led to the fatality.
A doctor wouldn't be held responsible for a patient's death if the patient declined treatment after the doctor diagnosed them, to give another example. If cancer was the patient's cause of death, the doctor will not be held accountable. The patient made the decision to refuse treatment, so the doctor was not responsible for the patient's demise. A wrongful death lawsuit in this situation would be without foundation. The last step is to prove that the loss of a loved one caused damages.
Common Causes of Florida Wrongful Deaths
Accidents and incidents of all shapes and sizes have the potential to cause wrongful death. In some accidents, the victim dies right away, but in other cases, the victim may sustain injuries that eventually cause death. This might happen once, or it might happen after repeated exposure.
The victim would have been entitled to compensation if they had lived through these circumstances for expenses like medical bills, lost wages, and other harms directly attributable to the accident. In the event of a fatal accident, the family may be entitled to financial compensation.
Examples of Wrongful Death Causes:
- Murder and manslaughter: Family members may be able to bring a wrongful death claim after a physical assault that results in death. The victim might have brought a personal injury claim had they not perished. The victim would be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages while they recovered, and possibly even punitive damages.
- Medical malpractice: For instance, a doctor may be sued for wrongful death if they carry out an unnecessary surgery and the patient dies. The patient would have been qualified to bring a civil lawsuit on their own behalf had they been able to survive the surgical procedure. To hold the doctor responsible for their errors, a personal injury lawsuit would be filed.
- Motor vehicle accidents: Accidents involving negligent drivers are one of the leading causes of wrongful death. For example, if a truck driver fails to follow safety guidelines or secure their load and causes an accident, they may be held liable for wrongful death. The same is true for a distracted or drunk driver.
- Other negligent actions: Several types of accidents may entitle surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim. Accidents on construction sites, for example, are caused by unsafe conditions, accidents involving defective products, or neglected premises.
Anyone who feels that the death of a loved one could have been avoided should consult a personal injury lawyer. You can navigate your claim with the assistance of a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney with experience in accident injury cases.
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Types of Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A person is entitled to compensation if they live through an illness or injury that was brought on by the negligence or malicious behaviour of another. This holds true in a wrongful death lawsuit as well, with the exception that the living family may be eligible for damages. Sometimes the deceased underwent prolonged medical care before passing away from their wounds, requiring their family members to take time off work to care for them or drive them to appointments.
A person's careless actions can also result in the death of a parent or spouse, which can have long-lasting financial effects. Financial fallout could be especially detrimental if the deceased was the only source of income for the family. In addition to death-related costs like funeral and burial costs, these expenses may also be eligible for reimbursement.
Examples of Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Diagnostic tests
- Hospice care
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Lost potential income
- Lost benefits
Wrongful Death Non-economic Damages
Other non-economic damages may be available to family members. It is challenging to estimate how much compensation a family might get given the nature of these damages. For instance, a child who loses a parent forfeits the parent's company, direction, and potential inheritance. A surviving spouse may also be entitled to compensation for other damages, such as the loss of companionship.
Do I Need a Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers are frequently experienced in wrongful death cases. Personal injury attorneys handle both types of cases because they require many of the same elements. If you believe a loved one's death could have been avoided, you should contact a wrongful death attorney. They can give you advice and information before you decide to take legal action.
Furthermore, because they understand insurance company tactics, they will be able to negotiate a fair settlement more effectively. A wrongful death lawyer can help you understand your rights and identify those responsible for your loss. If you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will need the services of an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Assist With Important Administrative Tasks
wrongful death lawsuits are challenging, so a lawyer can guide you through it. According to Florida law, the decedent's family members must appoint a personal representative to file the wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. The executor or administrator of the decedent's estate must be identified.
The next step is for you or your personal injury attorney to decide whether a personal representative was named in the decedent's will or if a court appointment is required. When bringing a wrongful death lawsuit, you must also take the statute of limitations into account. A statute of limitations deals with how long you have after the death of a loved one to file a lawsuit.
Depending on what happened that caused your loved one to pass away, the period of time will change. For instance, two years must pass after a fatal car accident before a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought. You may have up to four years to submit a personal injury lawsuit if your loved one passed away as a result of medical negligence. You can get assistance from a personal injury lawyer in figuring out crucial due dates for your case.
The time will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death. A wrongful death lawsuit, for example, must be filed within two years of the death in the event of a fatal car accident. If your loved one died as a result of medical malpractice, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for up to four years. A personal injury lawyer can assist you in determining critical deadlines in your case.
Why Should I Choose Dolman Law Group to Represent Me?
Because you want to work with a representative who acts in your best interests, choosing the right attorney to hire is crucial. We will represent you as your wrongful death attorneys and assist you in determining the best course of action. We can complete the task because of our legal knowledge, work ethic, and trial experience.
A lot of personal injury cases, especially those involving auto accidents and medical malpractice, are resolved outside of court. The majority of wrongful death cases, however, go to trial. You'll require a personal injury lawyer who has handled trials in front of a judge and jury. If the Dolman Law Group thinks your settlement offer is unfair, we won't push you to accept it.
Our team will instead strive to maximise the amount of compensation for your wrongful death claim. Our most recent outcomes include:
- a 1 million dollar wrongful death settlement for a father killed in a rideshare car accident
- a 6.7 million dollar wrongful death settlement
The Dolman Law Group is here to assist you in pursuing maximum compensation if you require a committed, knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.
Dolman Law Group can assist you with your wrongful death lawsuit right away.
Dolman Law Group understands that no amount of money can compensate for the death of a loved one. We believe, however, that you should not have to face devastating financial and emotional consequences as a result of someone else's intentional, reckless, or negligent behaviour that results in the death of a loved one.
These consequences may include unexpected medical bills, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of companionship. Dolman Law Group understands that you are facing a lifetime of pain and loss. We will work tirelessly to help you recover financially, even if it means taking your wrongful death lawsuit to court.
Consider contacting a wrongful death attorney at Dolman Law Group if you believe a loved one would not have died if the responsible party had acted reasonably. You can reach us at (727) 451-6900 or via our website's contact form at any time. Dolman Law Group's wrongful death attorneys will examine the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action.