Wrongful Death Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
It is unfortunate when a loved one is injured due to someone else’s carelessness. Whether on the job working, or carrying on an otherwise typical daily task, accidents happen. Unfortunately, oftentimes an injury can result in someone’s passing. It can be even more heartbreaking when someone’s passing is the result of someone else’s negligence.
The law allows for wrongful death lawsuits in an attempt to compensate a surviving family member or several family members by holding the responsible party liable. This would allow surviving family members to seek damages for the economic and emotional losses they sustained.
If a loved one died at the hands of someone else’s failure to protect them when they had a duty to do so, the Fort Lauderdale wrongful death law firm of Schlacter Law can help. We understand how devastating it can be to lose a loved one, and we will work hard to help you get the compensation you deserve.
What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury claim that resulted in someone’s passing. Personal injury cases are the consequence of someone’s negligence. Negligence is the legal term that establishes that someone owed a duty to a decedent but failed to provide the proper care to ensure that the decedent wouldn’t be harmed. This duty owed may be the result of the defendant’s recklessness or deliberate action that resulted in death.
To prove that a defendant acted negligently, there are four elements that must be proven in court. These elements are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent
- The defendant breached this duty
- The defendant was the direct cause of the decedent’s death
- The decedent was killed as a result
The duty owed to a decedent would vary based on the circumstances but is generally based on the principle of how a reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same circumstances. If a reasonably prudent store owner would have labeled a wet floor as dangerous, and the defendant in a wrongful death case failed to act in the same manner resulting in the decedent slipping, falling, and dying, the decedent may be liable for their passing.
There are numerous conditions that might lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. Some examples include:
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Birth injuries
- Drunk driving accidents
- Mechanical defects
- Defective products
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Airplane accidents
These are just a few examples of accidents that could lead to someone else’s passing. In reality, there are far too many situations to mention here where someone might be liable for someone’s death. If you suspect someone else may have caused a loved one’s death, it is important to speak with a wrongful death lawyer. A Fort Lauderdale death lawyer can help look at the facts and establish who might be liable. This is the first step in seeking compensation for wrongful death.
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Fort Lauderdale?
Damages resulting from a wrongful death case are available only to certain people related to the decedent. This includes a surviving spouse, children, and the decedent’s parents. Additionally, any adopted sibling or blood relative that is dependent on the decedent may also benefit from a wrongful death claim.
According to Florida Statutes, §768.21, each survivor may recover “the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value.”
In calculating support, the court will consider:
- The survivor’s relationship to the decedent
- The decedent’s net income
- The value of the decedent’s services
To help calculate future losses, the court may also consider the life expectancy of both the survivor and the decedent, as well as the age of any minor dependents and children.
Additionally, Florida Statutes, §768.21(2), allows a surviving spouse to “recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.” Florida Statutes, §768.21(3), allows a surviving minor to “recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury” and Florida Statutes, §768.21(4) allows each parent of the decedent to “recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.”
Additional recovery may be available for medical or funeral expenses paid by the decedent’s estate, as well as any lost earnings from the date of passing.
In addition to benefits entitled to surviving beneficiaries, the decedent’s estate may be entitled to damages on behalf of the decedent. There are two other types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the types of damages that are usually easy to calculate. This might include the lost economic value that the decedent may have earned over the course of their life, as well as the costs the estate paid on the decedent’s behalf, including:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of other types of income
- Employment benefits
- Lost services
- Property damage
- Other out of pocket costs
Non-economic damages are costs associated when someone died that are more difficult to calculate. This might include:
- Pain and suffering the decedent suffered
- Emotional distress
The third kind of damage available in a wrongful death lawsuit is punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish a defendant for behavior that is deemed reckless or malicious. Even if the defendant didn’t intend the harm, but acted in an unreasonably dangerous way, and was motivated by financial gain, punitive damages would be available.
Understanding what compensation is available in a wrongful death suit can be difficult. A Fort Lauderdale accidental death attorney has the experience necessary to seek the proper amount of compensation and ensure that each survivor receives the best compensation available. Contact a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer today for an evaluation.
Statute of Limitations
Most states place a limit on how much time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit in court. This is known as the statute of limitations. For wrongful death claims in Florida, a claimant must file their lawsuit within two years from the date of the decedent’s passing. This can be found in Florida Statutes, §95.11(4)(d).
Unfortunately, exceptions made to the statute of limitations are rare. Failing to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the required two-year window could be extremely detrimental, and could result in the court dismissing the case and eliminating any relief for compensation.
Due to the importance of adhering to the statute of limitations, it is imperative to speak with a lawyer sooner rather than later following the passing of a loved one. In a wrongful death lawsuit, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer can help determine the timeframe a lawsuit must be filed, and be sure to file the proper paperwork within the statute of limitations. Call today for an evaluation.
When to Call a Lawyer
Unfortunately, when an accident results in someone’s passing it is cause for concern. From car accidents, work accidents, and defective products, the emotional and financial toll on a family when someone dies can be costly and it can take years for family members to recover from the trauma an accident can cause.
A wrongful death attorney is here to help. A wrongful death lawyer can help a decedent’s survivors recover compensation for the costs associated with their loved one’s passing, as well as money for any lost income and wages the decedent would have earned over their life if their lives weren’t cut short. In addition, a death attorney can assist in recovering compensation for funeral and medical costs that can financially cripple a family following the passing of a loved one. Call a Fort Lauderdale accidental death lawyer today for a consultation so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can any relative file a wrongful death claim?
The statute specifically lays out who can and cannot file a claim for an accidental death. Spouses, children, and parents of deceased children are given deference to file a claim, however, any blood relative or adoptive sibling can also file a claim, depending on the circumstances. If you suspect you may have a valid claim but are unsure based on your relationship to the deceased, contact the Fort Lauderdale lawyers at Schlacter Law today for a consultation.
How can I pay for a lawyer?
The cost of a lawyer is typically paid through a contingency fee. This allows a client to initiate legal services without having to pay the lawyer or law firm any money upfront. Instead, the lawyer is paid when they successfully recover compensation on your behalf, and would usually keep between 33.33% and 40% for their fee. If you are worried that you can’t afford an attorney, call us today so we can help get a claim started without you having to worry about the cost.