When a loved one is lost in an accident or an unexpected event, most will feel completely overwhelmed by their feelings of anger, grief, and shock. If this tragedy was caused by a car accident, then you may also be recovering from your own injuries and grappling with financial realities resulting from your loss. It may bring some measure of comfort to hold another responsible if this was a wrongful death caused by reckless or irresponsible behavior. This would be a good reason to contact an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney.
In times of grief, bringing a lawsuit or filing a legal claim is probably the last thing on your mind. It is important to understand, however, that a wrongful death action can help relieve the long-term financial strain a family endures after losing a loved one. A wrongful death claimant has probably never needed an attorney before, so they are likely unaware of what to look out for or where to begin searching. It’s important to look for a wrongful death attorney specifically.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to negligence book a free legal consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys at Herman & Wells. If you’d like to speak with one of our attorneys immediately, please call (727) 821-3195.
What Types of Lawyers Are Qualified to Handle Wrongful Death Claims in Florida?
A wrongful death claim can technically be handled by any type of lawyer. That being said, it is highly recommended that you work with an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases. A Florida wrongful death attorney that has specific and extensive knowledge of these cases will benefit you more than an attorney who handles a broad range of claims. The law covers many topics, including murder and forgery, real estate, and civil liability. In spite of the fact that many attorneys have a solid foundational knowledge of many legal topics, every issue has applicable statutes and case laws that change regularly. A lawyer who specializes in wrongful death will likely have a much better understanding of the legal area than a lawyer with general knowledge.
It can be hard to determine the amount of compensation to seek after a wrongful death. The financial award may cover the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Costs associated with the funeral
- Income lost by the deceased
- The loss of an inheritance
- An absence of services your loved one would have provided
- Loss of affection, support, and companionship
A wrongful death attorney who has handled cases like these understands how to approach such delicate questions and seek justice.
Tips for Vetting Florida Wrongful Death Lawyers Before You Call
Where do you begin your search for a wrongful death lawyer? There are several tips to consider before approaching potential wrongful death attorneys and choosing the right one:
Friends and Family Referrals
Your closest friends and family members know you best. If you know someone who has worked with a local Fort Myers wrongful death attorney or injury attorney, ask them about their experience and opinions. It will give you more confidence to approach them.
Read Client Reviews
The attorney’s website contains client testimonials. This will give you a better idea of what type of cases the attorney has dealt with and the degree to which he or she has been successful.
Review the Lawyer’s Biography
Not only will you find out about their legal experience on these pages, but also about their personal life and their conversational style. This will assist you in deciding if you want to consider hiring them.
Interview the Lawyer
If you are unsure whether the attorney will be suitable for your case and your family, it is usually best to sit down and talk to them in person. This also gives the attorney a chance to examine the facts of your case in greater detail and determine whether they have both the skills and the resources to succeed on your behalf. (Those who maintain social distance can hold virtual or telephone conferences.) Most Florida wrongful death attorneys offer free initial consultations.
Florida Bar Association
Local attorneys in the area who have handled wrongful death cases like yours can be found through the state bar. The benefit of this is that you will be able to compare attorney profiles side-by-side, and you will be able to see any disciplinary actions taken against them in the past.
Questions to Ask Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys During a Consultation
An experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer can make or break your case. A decision like this should only be made once you have done your research. A consultation with a wrongful death attorney is the best time to gather information. Here are some questions you should ask:
How Experienced Are You With Wrongful Death Claims?
In addition, what level of experience do you have in handling my particular type of case? Product liability or tractor-trailer accidents are two types of injury and wrongful death cases that can become quite complex. The lawyer you hire should have experience handling these cases.
Who will be Handling My Case If I Hire Your Law Firm?
At some point in the process, several individuals will be working on your case. Paralegals are sometimes called upon for tasks such as preparing documents and conducting research on behalf of the teams. The firm may also contract investigators, but you will work with a lead attorney who will serve as your point person and represent you before the insurance companies and in court.
How Does this Process Work?
Each type of wrongful death case will follow a different path. A case may involve direct negotiations with the insurer, followed by litigation if the negotiations fail. However, there are certain types of cases where arbitration may be required, which is a different process than having a case decided in court. While attorneys can’t know everything that will happen, they can provide you with their best guess as to how the case will proceed and the likelihood that you will win.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act
There are many different types of wrongful death cases, but all are civil lawsuits that seek compensation. The term “wrongful death” refers to a death caused by the negligence or direct action of someone else. There are different rules in every state regarding how the aggrieved party can file a lawsuit, and there are regulations regarding what types of compensation are available for wrongful death cases. In contrast to murder, homicide, and manslaughter, wrongful death claims are brought in civil court rather than in criminal court. Defendants in wrongful death lawsuits are NOT punished for breaking the law, but their loved ones (plaintiffs) are compensated for their loss.
A specific statute has been established in Florida’s Wrongful Death Act in an effort to ensure justice when a person’s life is lost due to the wrongful act of another. Section 768.20 of the Florida Wrongful Death Act gives survivors the right to sue for compensation under its tenets, which is limited to the following people:
- Spouse of the decedent
- Children born to the decedent from marriage
- A decedent mother’s children born out of wedlock
- Children born outside of wedlock to a decedent father if, prior to his death, he recognized that responsibility
- Parents of the decedent
- Blood relatives who are partially or completely dependent on the decedent for support or services
- Foster or adoptive siblings who are partially or entirely dependent on the decedent
In Florida, there are restrictions on how and when a wrongful death claim can be filed by a certain family member. The majority of residents do not know what to do, so they rush straight to court in an attempt to get justice. But you need to speak with an attorney first to discuss all of the possible options and know your rights under Florida law. The state’s legal statutes (section 678.18) cover all wrongful death claims in Florida. If the death was caused by any of the reasons listed below, the law allows the surviving family members to file a lawsuit:
- Wrongful act
- Breach or default of contract
Wrongful death claims are also subject to a statute of limitations. In Florida, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of death. In some cases, an extension may be granted to the personal representative or attorney for the family. In reality, wrongful death lawsuits are mostly accepted within a 2-year period.
How Can Our Attorneys Help If You Have a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Our Florida wrongful death attorneys can be of great assistance to your claim. Our team can investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death, find out who is at fault, tell you what your legal rights are, and possibly file a lawsuit on your behalf to seek compensation for losses. As mentioned earlier, state laws differ regarding wrongful death lawsuits. You may not be eligible to sue depending on where you live.
If you live in Florida, you can sue for wrongful death. Contact our law firm at (727) 821-3195 to talk to an attorney. We want to hear your story.
In Florida, our wrongful death lawyers will seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Aside from the medical expenses your family member incurred before passing away, burial and funeral expenses, and income your family member would have earned if he or she had lived.
Can You Receive Compensation for a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida Without an Attorney?
A settlement from an insurance company might not adequately compensate your family for its losses if you’re handling your case on your own. The goal of insurers is to settle cases for the lowest amount possible in order to protect their bottom lines. However, family members are rarely aware of the amount of compensation they could be entitled to receive. In order to determine a fair settlement in a wrongful death case, numerous factors must be reviewed carefully. A wrongful death attorney will have the necessary experience to determine the appropriate compensation level for your unique situation.
Book a Free Legal Consultation With Our Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys
We believe that each wrongful death case is unique and should be handled by a team of compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers who appreciate the opportunity to be able to advocate for you. If you have lost a loved one, Herman & Wells is here to help you learn about your options and will fight for the compensation you deserve. Request a free legal consultation with one of our Florida wrongful death lawyers today.