Orlando Wrongful Death Attorneys
Accepting the death of a loved one is extremely difficult. Often, survivors go through a range of emotions, including denial, disbelief, anger, grief, and depression, before they reach any kind of acceptance.
Working through these emotions can be particularly difficult when you believe that the death of your loved one could have been prevented. Sometimes a death could have been prevented with intervention or quick emergency treatment, but other times, it could have been avoided had someone not been negligent or acted wrongfully.
If you believe that another party’s negligent or wrongful conduct caused, or contributed to the death of a family member, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim for damages. While no amount of compensation can bring back your loved one, obtaining compensatory damages can help if you are facing financial hardship as a result of the loss of your family member. Moreover, at Bailey Fisher, we strongly believe that the responsible party should be held accountable for your suffering and loss and are committed to making sure that happens.
What Makes a Death a “Wrongful Death?”
Although wrongful death claims fall within the same area of the law as other personal injury lawsuits, most states have specific statutes that address wrongful death. Florida is no exception. Florida Statutes section 768.19, et. seq. begins with the clause “When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person…” and goes on to explain that the decedent’s estate may pursue a claim against the at-fault party.
A wrongful death can occur under any circumstance if negligence or wrongful conduct was the cause or substantial contributing factor in causing the death. Some examples of cases that might qualify as wrongful death include:
- A motor vehicle accident that results in the death of a vehicle’s occupant.
- A medical error that causes a patient’s death.
- A swimming pool left unattended and accessible to a child who drowns.
- A vehicle with defective brakes that results in a fatal crash.
- A defective product that causes injuries resulting in death.
- A fall resulting from improperly-maintained or poorly-designed premises that causes death.
These examples are not exclusive, and the attorneys at Bailey Fisher have successfully prosecuted wrongful death claims arising from all manner of accidental fatal injuries.
Who Is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Typically, when a victim has been injured in a personal injury accident, it is the injured victim who is entitled to pursue legal action against the negligent or wrongful party. In the case of a wrongful death, however, the injured victim is deceased, so the law allows the decedent’s estate to pursue a claim against the responsible party. In the State of Florida, a representative for the decedent’s estate, usually a surviving family member, must actually bring the wrongful death action. Usually, that means the person appointed as the Executor, or Personal Representative, of the estate in the decedent’s Last Will and Testament brings the lawsuit. If the decedent died intestate, or without a will, the court will appoint a Personal Representative.
Although the estate representative brings the lawsuit, he or she does so on behalf of the eligible surviving family members. Eligible surviving family members include a spouse, and may include children, parents, and a blood relative or adoptive sibling who is “partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services,” depending upon the particular circumstances of the death and the context in which it occurred. The attorneys at Bailey Fisher understand how the Florida Wrongful Death Act applies in any given situation and are ready to advise you in a time of loss.
What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Compensation (damages) that may be awarded in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit falls into two categories. The first applies to compensation that certain surviving family members may receive and includes:
- The value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family member.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a loved one.
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
The second category applies to compensation that may be awarded to the estate of the decedent. That compensation will ultimately be distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate according to the will, or by intestate succession, which will typically include family members, and includes:
- Lost earnings from the date of injury to the date of death, subject to certain offsets.
- Lost “prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the present value of earnings the decedent could reasonably have been expected to accumulate as savings if he or she had lived.
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid directly by the estate.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act can be complicated and does not apply equally to all family members who are impacted by the death of a loved one. The attorneys at Bailey Fisher know the wrongful death law well, and are ready to advise you regarding your rights.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A statute of limitations is a time period, established by law, within which a party must initiate legal action or forever be barred from doing so. Most personal injury actions have a statute of limitations. In the case of a wrongful death, a lawsuit must usually be filed within two years of the death.
Get Help from Experienced Orlando Wrongful Death Attorneys
The Orlando wrongful death attorneys at Bailey Fisher have extensive experience in wrongful death and other personal injury cases and bring a strong sense of commitment to helping people who have suffered because of others’ negligence or wrongdoing.
If a family member has died wrongfully because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, we want to help you hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call us at 407-628-2929 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Orlando wrongful death attorneys will listen to what happened and advise you on your best course of action. For viable wrongful death cases, we will follow up with the necessary legal action to hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence and recover the financial compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and losses.