Wrongful Death Attorneys Proudly Serving Florida
Accidents caused by the negligence of another can be devastating. Even worse is when that negligence leads to the death of a loved one. An unwarranted death can cause undue financial and emotional hardship on your family. Our skilled Orlando wrongful death lawyers understand the severity of this issue and apply our years of experience so that you may be able to recover compensation to help during this terrible time.
If you believe that your loved one died as the result of the negligence or recklessness of another person, please give our Florida wrongful death attorneys a call at 407-712-7300 for a free initial consultation. We proudly serve those who live in Orlando and other nearby areas of Florida.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when a life is cut short beyond what is naturally expected. The death must also cause some sort of financial hardship for the remaining family members or dependents of the deceased.
Unlike criminal charges, a wrongful death claim does not aim to punish the person responsible for the wrongful death. Wrongful death claims provide the family of the deceased with compensation for their losses.
There are four conditions that must be met for a wrongful death claim, which includes:
- The death was caused in whole or in part by the defendant
- The defendant is strictly liable or negligent in the victim’s death
- There are surviving family members of the deceased
- There is monetary loss associated with the death
If those conditions are not met, then a wrongful death suit may not be advisable. Consult with one of our wrongful death attorneys to see if you have a case.
Causes of a Wrongful Death
There are a variety of circumstances that can result in the wrongful death of a loved one. We have helped many families handle wrongful death claims that have resulted from incidents such as:
- Auto accidents
- Boating accidents
- Aviation accidents and plane crashes
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Construction accidents
- Premises liability and property owner negligence
Property Owner Negligence and Wrongful Death
When a property owner is negligent in maintaining safe conditions on the property and your loved one is fatally injured as a result, the case is covered under premises liability laws.
Premises liability is an area of law that governs cases involving personal injuries caused by a property owner’s negligent maintenance of the premises. These laws require property owners and managers to maintain safe conditions for visitors. When a property owner fails to fulfill this obligation and a visitor is injured or killed as a result, the property owner may be held liable for damages.
Just about any property owner or manager can be held liable for a wrongful death caused by the negligent maintenance of the property, including:
- Property owners
- Business owners
- Building managers
- Mass transit authorities
- Government entities
- Renters of a residential property
There are many different ways a property owner’s negligent maintenance of the premises can cause a fatal accident. Some common examples include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Swimming pool drowning accidents
- Violent crimes caused by negligent security
- Fires and explosions
- Construction accidents caused by dangerous working conditions
- Daycare accidents
- Accidents occurring at poorly maintained nursing homes or hospitals
Wrongful death claims involving property owner negligence are very complicated. The partners at Colling Gilbert Wright have more than 80 years of combined experience handling these cases for wrongful death victims in the Orlando area and we know the complex laws which apply to these claims. This extensive experience and our strong track record of success will give you the greatest chances of a successful outcome to your claim.
Damages You May Receive in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death can have overwhelming consequences for the victim’s surviving family members. If the deceased person was the family’s primary source of income, the survivors must not only contend with the emotional toll of their loved one’s death, but also the exorbitant financial hardship that follows. Wrongful death law is designed to compensate you and your family for a loss that could have been prevented.
There are two basic areas of recovery in wrongful death cases: economic damages, which compensate families for tangible financial losses, and non-economic damages, which compensate families for emotional distress and other “intangible” losses.
Under the heading of economic damages, blood relatives who were dependent on the deceased person for financial support can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of future income
- Loss of benefits (such as medical, dental, pension, and 401k)
- Loss of services provided by the deceased (such as housekeeping, childcare, and more)
Additionally, spouses and children can recover non-economic damages for:
- Loss of companionship
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering
- General damages
In rare cases, punitive damages may be allowed in order to deter others from similar negligence in the future. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright can help you determine which areas of recovery you are eligible to pursue, and calculate a fair amount of compensation for you to request.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to secure compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one, you must be able to prove that they died because of another party’s negligence. This requires thorough, timely research and a comprehensive presentation of evidence. You also need to prove that the amount of compensation you are requesting is justified.
When you are dealing with a loved one’s death, the last thing you should be concerned with is how to cope with the financial burden of their loss. Hiring our wrongful death lawyers will not only significantly increase your chances of winning your wrongful death case, it will also take the stress and complication of pursuing legal action out of your hands.
Some important things to keep in mind when you file a wrongful death claim include:
- The spouse, children, or other dependents who suffered damages because of the death can file a wrongful death claim. Other family members who were not directly supported during the decedent’s life usually do not have a claim.
- There are strict deadlines that must be met when you decide to file a wrongful death claim. In Florida, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years.
- In a criminal case, the jury must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, the defendant might be found liable for damages with the evidence against the defendant going slightly against him. There is no reasonable doubt qualification to meet.
- While the death of a child is tragic, a wrongful death claim may not be warranted unless that child was somehow supporting the rest of the family.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Work in Florida?
Navigating a wrongful death settlement in Florida can be a complex and emotional journey. In Florida, wrongful death claims are governed by the Florida Wrongful Death Act (Florida Statutes § 768.16–768.26). This legislation allows certain survivors to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing. The Act specifies the damages recoverable and identifies those who are eligible to receive them.
Typically, an Orlando wrongful death lawyer will file a claim on behalf of the estate and the decedent’s surviving family members. Compensation is often negotiated with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and if a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial.
Each wrongful death claim is unique, and the settlement process can vary in complexity. The wrongful death attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright are adept at guiding survivors through this difficult time, ensuring they understand their rights and legal options, and working diligently to secure the compensation they deserve.
Who Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Case in Florida?
In Florida, the individuals who can recover in a wrongful death case are outlined under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. According to § 768.20, the decedent’s personal representative can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate and survivors.
As per § 768.18(1), survivors may include:
- The decedent’s spouse, children, and parents
- Any blood relatives or adoptive siblings who are partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services
Each survivor may be eligible to recover specific damages listed in § 768.21. For example:
- Survivors may secure damages for lost support and services, both current and future.
- A spouse may recover compensation for loss of companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering.
- Minor children (and all children when there is no surviving spouse) may obtain recovery for “lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering.”
- Parents of a minor child may recover mental pain and suffering damages. If there are no other survivors, parents of an adult child may also recover these damages.
An Orlando wrongful death lawyer can help identify eligible survivors and ensure the pursuit of all applicable damages, providing invaluable support and counsel throughout the entire legal process.
Can Adult Children Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?
Yes, adult children can sue for wrongful death in Florida. Adult children can file a wrongful death claim if a parent dies as a result of negligence or misconduct. While minor children are always eligible to recover damages for the loss of parental companionship, guidance, and instruction, adult children have this right as well, unless the deceased parent is survived by a spouse. In such a case, adult children may be restricted from recovering non-economic damages.
Furthermore, adult children may be eligible for compensation for medical or funeral expenses if they have paid those expenses, as well as damages for mental pain and suffering, lost support, and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to their death in some cases. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help determine the applicable damages.
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth in Florida?
Determining the value of a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida involves several factors that can vary significantly from case to case. Financial, emotional, and psychological losses are all considered. Factors that can impact the value of a wrongful death lawsuit include the decedent’s age, health, earning capacity, and the number of dependents left behind. Compensation might cover loss of support and services, loss of companionship and protection, mental pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses, and more.
Calculating a definitive lawsuit worth is complex and requires thorough legal analysis and understanding. It is crucial to work with experienced Orlando wrongful death lawyers who can offer a detailed case evaluation, gather all necessary evidence, and employ experts to establish the total impact of the loss, ensuring that survivors receive the fair compensation they deserve.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take in Florida?
The duration of a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida can be influenced by various factors, making it difficult to predict a precise timeline. Generally, these cases can take several months to several years to resolve. The complexity of the case, number of parties involved, willingness of the parties to settle, and backlog of the courts are significant factors that can affect the timeline.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is 2 years from the date of death. This means the lawsuit must be filed within this period, but it does not dictate how long the case will take to conclude.
Despite the potential for a lengthy process, the pursuit of a wrongful death claim is essential for obtaining justice and compensation for the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Colling Gilbert Wright understands the intricacies of these cases. We work diligently to resolve them as expediently as possible while ensuring the rights and interests of the bereaved family are staunchly protected throughout the legal process.
What Is the Difference Between Wrongful Death and Survival Action in Florida?
The distinction between wrongful death and survival action is critical in understanding the rights and recourses available under Florida law. Wrongful death actions are filed by the survivors or the estate to seek damages for their own loss due to the decedent’s death. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate files the lawsuit on behalf of the survivors.
The decedent’s estate brings survival actions to recover losses the decedent could have pursued had they lived. It is, in essence, the personal injury claim that survives the death. Damages in survival action cover the decedent’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages from the time of injury to the time of death.
Survival actions are strictly related to losses suffered before death. The circumstances of their death needn’t have anything to do with the injuries related to the survival action. For instance, a victim could be injured in a slip and fall accident and then tragically pass in a car accident while awaiting the conclusion of their slip and fall personal injury claim.
Wrongful death compensates the survivors for their losses, while survival action seeks compensation for the decedent’s losses before death. Navigating these claims and understanding the applicable rights and compensations requires knowledge and experience. The Orlando wrongful death lawyers at Colling Gilbert Wright would be honored to assist you with your claim.
Contact an Experienced Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Today
When a person dies as a result of negligence, it is up to their immediate family to file the wrongful death claim. The wrongful death attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright will evaluate your claim at no charge to you. We will represent your case on a contingency basis, meaning that you do not pay unless we collect damages on your wrongful death claim.
If your loved one has passed away in Orlando or anywhere in Florida and you would like to file a wrongful death claim, please contact Colling Gilbert Wright by completing our online questionnaire or calling 407-712-7300 for a free case review.