It’s easy to confuse Florida survival actions and wrongful death claims. Both are claims pursued [&h…
Wrongful Death Attorney in Jacksonville
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A wrongful death attorney must have a commitment to the cause when representing the family members of a deceased accident victim. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we understand how a family’s life is filled with grief immediately after an untimely death due to accidental injury or abuse. However, the fact remains that family members are still the ones who are typically left to pay for the accident victim’s hospital bills and funeral expenses. If you plan to seek the settlement your family rightfully deserves, let our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers guide you through the legal processes of a wrongful death lawsuit.
If someone else’s unreasonable act, careless behavior or other form of negligence caused your loved one’s death, then you have an obligation to protect the legal rights of the deceased. No one ever expects to face the sudden loss of a spouse, child or parent. But, when it happens, it’s important to take timely actions and have one of our wrongful death lawyers explain your options for seeking compensation for damages. For example, in Florida, a spouse is entitled to compensation for the loss of support, love, companionship and the routine services of the deceased. Our wrongful death attorneys can calculate the accurate dollar amount to use for an insurance settlement based on variables such as the joint life expectancy of the couple.
Another example of wrongful death compensation applies to any minor children of a deceased victim in Florida. Being classified as a minor can mean a newborn to a young person in his or her early twenties. Under-age children of a wrongful death victim are usually entitled to recover for the loss of guidance, the loss of affection, financial support and cost of the routine services provided by the deceased parent. In both wrongful death and personal injury cases, the law allows for compensation based on the total dollar amount of the loss to each individual survivor. The estate of the victim also has the right to seek compensation for the recovery of the loss of wealth that would have accumulated in the deceased’s prospective estate had the wrongful death not intervened.
Each wrongful death lawyer at Harrell & Harrell, P.A., has the legal expertise to provide consultation for a personal injury claim after the accidental loss of a loved one. No one expects to be faced with an untimely death. However, when a life is lost because of the carelessness or negligent actions of another person or company, the claim for seeking compensation of damages should be well documented in a timely manner. Let our experienced personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers provide a free consultation at our Jacksonville law office with no costs or obligations to you.
Common Types of Accidental Death
A wrongful death attorney understands how devastating the loss of a loved one can be. Wrongful death brings with it a unique kind of grief as your loved one is suddenly taken away from you through actions of another person. It’s the kind of death that survivors don’t expect, which makes it much more difficult to accept what happened.
Our wrongful death attorneys also understand your need to seek compensation for damages after suffering such a profound loss. Wrongful death situations come with a unique statute of limitations and there are clear standards about what survivors can recover in damages.
If you need to talk to one of our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers, then we invite you to contact us as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation. We can set up your loved one’s estate without charge to ease your burden as we start to hold people accountable for your loss.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
The specifics of how a wrongful death may have happened can vary, as described above. Every state, though, has some form of a wrongful death statute on the books. While all of these laws have similarities, it is important to know the specific laws in your state to verify filing deadlines and other requirements. Typically, a state wrongful death statute will require you to show several common elements. Michigan’s wrongful death statute is typical of what a grieving family must prove in order to win a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Another driver caused an accident that resulted in the death of your family member or loved one;
- The other driver acted negligently, wrongfully, or was otherwise at fault in causing the accident;
- The deceased family member is survived by a spouse, child, or other dependents or beneficiaries; and
- There are monetary damages as a result of your loved one’s death. (Damages can include both monetary and non-monetary damages in some states.)
Who Can File
It is always difficult for the family to think about the future during a time of bereavement, but it is important to take the best steps to protect your family’s future as well as the legal rights of the deceased. The deceased’s medical expenses and funeral costs are normally recoverable by the executor of the estate or a surviving family member who was obligated to pay for funeral expenses or late medical bills. Remember, you never have to face the big insurance companies on your own. Our wrongful death lawyers will gladly explain your legal options for seeking compensation and reparation for a wrongful death claim.
If you believe the death of a loved one was wrongfully caused by accident or abuse, call Harrell & Harrell, P.A., at 904-251-1111 or toll free 1-800-251-1111 to speak privately with one of our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers about our no cost, no obligation personal injury case consultation.
Wrongful Death FAQs
What is considered a wrongful death in Florida?
Wrongful death refers to a death that was caused by a wrongful act of another person or entity. That wrongful act could take many forms, including negligence, recklessness, or even breach of contract. The general rule is that if the injured person would have had a cause of action against the other person or entity if he or she had survived, the personal representative of the estate may bring a wrongful death action.
Some common examples include death due to a car accident that was somebody else’s fault, a death caused by medical malpractice, or death caused by a defective product.
Who is qualified to file a wrongful death claim?
In Florida, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. However, the claim isn’t filed for the benefit of the estate, and any damages awarded do not become part of the estate. Instead, the personal representative of the estate files a wrongful death claim on behalf of certain surviving relatives.
Relatives who may be eligible for compensation under Florida’s wrongful death statute include the surviving spouse, children of the deceased, parents of the deceased, and any blood relatives or adopted siblings who were dependent on the deceased for support. An experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer can explain in greater detail the type and degree of support that might entitle a relative to damages.
What kind of compensation can I expect from my wrongful death suit?
Putting a value on the life of your loved one can be very difficult and heart-wrenching for the family. There are, however, multiple factors that we can use to determine the dollar amount for insurance settlements. In Florida, for example, a spouse may be entitled to compensation for these factors: loss of support, loss of love and companionship, and routine services of the deceased. The under-age children of the deceased can typically recover damages for loss of affection, loss of guidance, plus financial support and the cost of routine services that had been provided by the deceased parent.
The victim’s estate can also seek loss of wealth recovery compensation for what would have accumulated in the prospective estate had the wrongful death not taken place. Dollar amounts, in all of these examples, must be objectively determined and backed up by evidence, and our legal team is highly experienced in managing that for our clients.
When should I consult an attorney to file a wrongful death claim?
The sooner you connect with a wrongful death attorney in Florida, the better. First, until you consult a wrongful death lawyer, it may be difficult to know whether you have a valid wrongful death lawsuit at all. The attorney can explain what is required to prove a wrongful death claim and who may be entitled to damages.
A wrongful death attorney is also the best source of information about critical deadlines. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim may be different depending on the circumstances that led to the death. So, if you don’t get knowledgeable guidance right away, you could miss important deadlines or even lose your claim entirely.
Finally, it’s important to coordinate a Florida wrongful death claim with the administration of the estate. Since the personal representative must file and pursue the claim in their official role, the estate must be open when the case is filed and when any settlement is executed.
What makes Harrell & Harrell, P.A., the right choice as our wrongful death attorneys?
From the very inception of our law firm, our founders recognized that in order to provide the best legal representation needed for our clients’ wrongful death cases, we needed to have an outstanding personnel infrastructure with attorneys experienced in pursuing wrongful death claims.
Our staff includes licensed accident investigators that allow us to seamlessly respond to accidents, along with two full-time communication and IT specialists to make sure our systems can function flawlessly, 24/7, and be continually upgraded. We also employ a medical director and full-time staff nurses, plus additional professionals with expertise in specific relevant areas.
In today’s times, having the right technology is also crucial, so we use the most sophisticated telecommunication systems available, with the best computer equipment, legal software and technical systems and support to investigate, develop, and support our clients and cases.
Collecting and preserving vital case evidence and testimony is absolutely crucial to preparing a case file that is well documented, and we ensure that our staff and technology alike will optimally contribute.
Plus, our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to our clients, with this commitment allowing us to grow into one of Florida’s largest personal injury firms.
How long will my wrongful death case take to settle?
No two cases are alike, and step one is to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the laws of your state. After a thorough investigation, a timetable may be able to be estimated. Sometimes, for example, an insurance settlement may take place. Other times, the case needs to go to trial.
In some cases, there is only one beneficiary. In other cases, there are multiple ones, including under-age children. Different situations have varying degrees of complexity. We’d be happy to discuss the specifics of your wrongful death claim, contact our Jacksonville personal injury law office today.
How long do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
The deadline to file most wrongful death claims in the state of Florida is two years, though it’s generally not a good idea to wait that long to get started. Gathering evidence can be difficult months or years after the incident that caused the death. And, your wrongful death lawyer will need time to prepare the case, negotiate with the responsible party (or their insurance company) and file suit if necessary.
In rare circumstances, such as when the death was caused by medical malpractice that was not discovered immediately, the timeline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be different.
Wrongful Death with Holt Harrell
Legal Definition of a Wrongful Death
A wrongful death claim can occur in almost any type of accident or as the result of negligence. For example, Harrell & Harrell, P.A., represented the family of someone killed in an apartment fire. The rental unit where the fire occurred had bars over the windows, which blocked the departed from being able to escape from the fire. After this happened, no compensation was offered. We represented the family in a wrongful death suit with a jury verdict awarding $694,000.
Wrongful deaths can result from the following:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Boat accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work accidents
Auto Accident Wrongful Death
This can occur when the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs. It can also take place when the person was speeding or otherwise driving recklessly.
An increasingly common cause of auto accident-based wrongful deaths is distracted driving, typically occurring because the driver was texting someone, rather than paying attention to the road. Driver fatigue can play a role, as can the inexperience or age of the driver.
Sometimes the fault lies elsewhere, such as when the vehicle itself has manufacturing defects or the road where the accident happened has defects. Because there are so many factors that can be involved in an auto accident that leads to a wrongful death, it’s important that we investigate the accident and its surrounding circumstances as soon as possible.
Truck Accident Wrongful Death
Not all trucking companies maintain vehicles well. Not all trucking companies train their drivers well. So, our wrongful death lawyers will look into the culpability of the trucking company as well as the driver. Weather conditions, road defects and manufacturer defects can also play a significant role, making a prompt and thorough investigation crucial.
Nursing Home Abuse/Wrongful Death
Nursing homes are required by the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 to provide the “highest practicable” degrees of care to residents, including what’s needed to maintain their physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being. When a loved one who dies in a nursing home setting has been neglected or abused, this can lead to a wrongful death claim. Nursing home neglect can be associated with falls and corresponding injuries; fatal medication mistakes; malnutrition; choking; infection and/or sepsis; a lack of oxygen and more. When residents are not cared for to the appropriate degree, they may wander off and become injured. When this neglect or abuse leads to a wrongful death, it’s natural to want to discuss compensation.
Boat Accident Wrongful Death
When someone is driving a boat, he or she must exercise standards of care. When that person’s driving causes an accident/wrongful death, the same laws apply as with vehicles on the road. More specifically, according to the Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) 655, “no person shall use any vessel or manipulate water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar device in a reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.”
Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death
The greatest cause of motorcycle rider deaths is when the vulnerable rider is hit by an automobile, with all the causes listed in our description of automobile accident and truck accident wrongful death applying here as well. Head-on collisions between an automobile and motorcycle can be especially deadly to the rider, and motorcycle riders can also be at special risk when a
distracted, drunk or reckless automobile driver is making a left-hand turn.
When you contact the Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys at Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we will investigate the actions of the other drive and circumstances surrounding the accident, as well as the vehicle manufacturer, road conditions and more, as they pertain to your claim.
Work Accident Wrongful Death
Wrongful deaths occur at the workplace, too, with manufacturing plants and construction sites being common locations for deadly accidents to happen. The wrongful death could occur because of an explosion or fall, malfunctioning machinery, dangerous chemical exposure or interaction and more. Wrongful death can occur through one specific accident, or can take place over long-term exposure to dangerous substances.
Call for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney today.
If your loved one was a victim of a wrongful death, that death may fit into one of the categories described above, or it may be through a different set of circumstances entirely. Because prompt investigation can be extremely helpful in a wrongful death claim, we invite you to request a free case evaluation so our attorneys can discuss the unique aspects of your situation.
To set up that free appointment at our Jacksonville law office, contact us online or call us at 1-800-251-1111.
DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU DESERVE.®
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