Wrongful Death Claims in Winter Haven, FL
Losing a loved one is one of the most tragic events that any family can experience. When a relative dies due to someone else’s negligence, it can make the pain even worse. If someone you love was killed in an accident in Winter Haven, the wrongful death lawyers at Brooks Law Group can help you pursue compensation from whoever is at fault.
No amount of money can replace the person you lost. However, there are ways to recover some of the financial losses that accompany an unexpected loss. A wrongful death claim can help recoup money for lost income, household support, funeral costs, burial expenses, and more.
Pursuing a wrongful death claim in Florida can be a complex task. The party(s) you wish to hold responsible for your loved one’s passing may dispute their liability. You need an experienced attorney with the legal knowledge and resources to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. At Brooks Law Group, we defend the rights of families who have been robbed of a loved one far too soon.
Arrange a free consultation with one of our compassionate Winter Haven wrongful death attorneys today. Call or contact us now.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim refers to the legal action brought by the personal representative and surviving family members of an individual whose death was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions (or inactions) of another party.
Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits brought by the family of a deceased individual. This differs from a criminal action that might be brought against the party or parties responsible for an individual’s death. While a criminal case is intended to punish a wrongdoer, provide the opportunity for rehabilitation, and provide society some measure of retributive justice, a wrongful death claim is primarily intended to compensate the family for their financial and personal losses caused by their family member’s passing.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Winter Haven?
Florida law requires that a wrongful death claim be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate (usually, an executor or administrator). The personal representative brings the wrongful death claim on behalf of those surviving family members entitled to compensation for damages, including:
- The spouse
- The children
- The decedent’s surviving parents
- Any surviving blood relatives or adoptive siblings of the decedent who were partially or wholly financially dependent on the decedent at the time of his/her death
The estate’s personal representative can also pursue the decedent’s survival claims. Any damages from that claim are paid to the estate and then paid out according to the decedent’s will. If the deceased did not have a will, monies are distributed according to Florida intestacy laws. Because these laws can be confusing, it’s a good idea to get guidance from a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer.
How to Prove Wrongful Death in Winter Haven
In order to successfully pursue a wrongful death claim, you will need to establish four separate elements:
- Negligence: You must show that the party(s) you hold responsible for your family member’s death committed intentional, reckless, or negligent actions. Intentional actions mean the at-fault party purposely took steps to cause your loved one’s death. Recklessness means the at-fault party consciously disregarded a substantial risk that their actions would result in your loved one’s death. Negligence refers to the at-fault party breaching their duty to take reasonable precautions to protect others from harm.
- The decedent’s right to sue: You must further show that the deceased individual would have had a legal right to file a personal injury claim (including a product liability, premises liability, or medical malpractice claim) against the at-fault party if he/she survived their last injury or illness inflicted by the at-fault party’s actions or omissions.
- Eligibility for damages: You must also show that the decedent left behind surviving family members eligible to receive compensation in a wrongful death action.
- Causation: You will need to prove that the defendant’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the decedent’s death — in other words, that the victim would not have died if the at-fault party had acted responsibly, and that there was no other cause more responsible for causing the decedent’s death.
- Damages: Finally, you will need to establish that the victim’s estate and any eligible surviving family members have suffered some form of monetarily compensable damages.
Accidents That Result in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Examples of accidents that can result in a wrongful death claim in Winter Haven include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective consumer products
- Defective or dangerous medical products or drugs
- Workplace accidents (in certain circumstances)
What Types of Wrongful Death Compensation May Be Available?
Your family may be entitled to compensation for various damages and losses in a wrongful death case. Wrongful death cases in Florida actually have two different claims for damages — the wrongful death claim and the survival claim.
Wrongful death damages are paid to the surviving family members of a deceased individual and include:
- Lost companionship, support, guidance, and protection
- Loss of the value of the decedent’s services to the household
- Loss of the decedent’s financial contributions to the family or household
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering, if your deceased loved one was a child
Survival claim damages include the damages that the decedent would be entitled to seek if they had survived and are paid to the decedent’s estate. They include:
- Medical expenses from last injury or last illness
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages immediately prior to death
- Lost prospective accumulation of value of the decedent’s estate that they would have had if they had lived
- Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to death
When to Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Winter Haven
If you have a family member who has died due to someone else’s negligence, you and your family should contact a Winter Haven wrongful death personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Although pursuing a legal claim might feel impossible right now, you should know that there is a limited period of time in which to pursue a wrongful death claim in every state.
The general rule is that you have two years to file for wrongful death in Florida. However, there are exceptions depending on the type of claim you are filing. For that reason, it’s important to work with a trusted wrongful death attorney who help determine the deadline for your claim.
Although two years may sound like a long time, your lawyer will need to collect substantial evidence to support your wrongful death claim. If you wait to act, crucial evidence may be lost or you may lose options for pursuing maximum compensation.
How Can Brooks Law Group Help Me?
Brooks Law Group can help with every aspect of your family’s wrongful death legal claim. We will:
- Meet with you in a free and private consultation
- Listen to your story and discuss your legal options
- Investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death to recover evidence we can use to show how other parties were responsible for his/her passing
- Identify the at-fault parties and all potential sources of compensation
- Collaborate with experts to build a strong, persuasive legal case
- File claims for compensation on your and your family’s behalf
- Aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and defense lawyers to obtain the best possible outcome for your case
- Prepare your claim for trial, if needed
Get a Winter Haven Wrongful Death Personal Injury Lawyer On Your Side
You shouldn’t have to suffer financially if you’ve lost a family member in an accident caused by someone else. Let our wrongful death personal injury lawyers in Winter Haven relieve your burdens during this tragic time. Call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with Brooks Law Group today.