Losing a loved one is always a devastating experience, especially if it happens suddenly due to the negligent or careless acts of another party. On top of the unforeseen loss, you are forced to bear the burden of hospital bills and funeral expenses. Fortunately, the law in Florida gives victims the opportunity to hold those liable accountable through a wrongful death claim. An experienced Hollywood wrongful death lawyer at Klotzman Law Firm will help you through the process.
However, wrongful death lawsuits tend to be more complex compared to other claims as death is involved. That’s why it is never advisable to take on a case without the help of an experienced attorney. The right legal representative will guide you through the process, tell you what to expect, and ultimately represent you in court if necessary. You should not have to suffer financially due to the fault of another party.
If your loved one passed away due to the carelessness or negligence of another party, you deserve justice and compensation. Allow our experienced Hollywood wrongful death lawyers to assess your case and handle all the intricacies, allowing you to grieve in peace. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free initial consultation with our Hollywood attorneys and learn more about your legal options!
How is Wrongful Death Defined in Florida?
Under Florida law, wrongful death is a term that defines the death of an individual resulting from the criminal act or negligence of another person or entity. The death can be instant or take place days, weeks, or months after the wrongful deed. Wrongful death can happen as a consequence of several things including:
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence
- Medical malpractice like surgical mistakes
- The use of defective or unreasonably dangerous products
- Engineering malpractice or faulty construction
- Auto accidents and pedestrian accidents
Who is Eligible for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Florida law has specific requirements for filing a wrongful death claim. This includes those eligible to file the lawsuit. Unlike other states that allow relatives to file wrongful death claims, the only party allowed to do so in Florida is the representative of the deceased person.
This individual is usually the administrator or executor of the deceased’s estate. They are tasked with filing the claim on behalf of the surviving family members who have incurred losses as a result of the death of their loved one. When filing the claim, the representative has to identify the family members interested in the case. These include:
- The surviving spouse
- Surviving parents
- Any surviving children and grandchildren, including those who are legally adopted
- Any other surviving loved ones that were financially dependent on the deceased during the time of passing.
What Types of Damages Can be Recovered?
Even as you seek the best legal representation, it is good to keep in mind that no amount of money can ever cover up the passing of your loved one. However, Klotzman Law Firm attorneys can help you seek compensation to handle both the monetary and non-monetary losses you may have incurred. A Hollywood wrongful death lawyer will help you know the different types of damages and whether or not they are recoverable.
According to Florida law, compensation is awarded in the form of damages. These damages can be categorized into the following:
Economic Compensatory Damages
These can be further categorized into two. The first entails the damages incurred between the time the wrongful deed happen to when the person passed away. The second entails the damages caused after the individual has already died. Economic damages are tangible and have a monetary value. Examples include:
- Lost earnings as a result of the death of the loved one
- Medical expenses accrued from treating the deceased after the wrongful act
- Expenses incurred from the funeral and burial process
- Lost inheritance
Non-Economic Compensatory Damages
These refer to those losses incurred following the death of a loved one but are subjective in nature and therefore can’t be monetized. Examples include stress, anxiety, emotional distress, loss of support, lost companionship and loss of a father/mother figure.
Punitive damages are non-compensatory and are designed with the aim to punish the liable parties for their careless or negligent acts. They are also put in place to deter others from engaging in similar behavior and protect the general public.
The team at Klotzman Law Firm will help you and other beneficiaries understand the damages you’re entitled to as well as the amount of settlement you can expect.
Can the Surviving Family Members File for Punitive Damages in Florida?
As mentioned above, punitive damages in Florida are designed to serve as a form of punishment to the parties liable and discourage reckless behavior overall. However, punitive damages are not common in wrongful death claims. The judge only awards them if they deem the party at fault to have been extremely reckless, malicious, or intentional in their conduct.
Bear in mind that the Wrongful Death Acts doesn’t explicitly mention these damages and so, the surviving family members can’t simply file for them. They are only awarded if the court feels the actions of the liable party show a clear intention of malice or carelessness and therefore cannot be ignored.
That said, you will need a great lawyer to argue your case to recover punitive damages. The team at Klotzman Law Firm has vast experience in this field and will provide solid advice and work towards maximum compensation.
How is Negligence Determined in a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In the state of Florida, negligence is considered to be the failure on the part of the responsible party to practice the care they owed another party (the victim). Proving negligence in Florida, similar to all states in the United States requires that your claim meets the following four important elements:
Duty of Care
A duty of care simply means an individual or entity acting in a way that shows they are careful and reasonable in certain situations. Your wrongful death attorney will need to show that the defendant had the chance to act reasonably at that time but failed to do so. Duty of care mandates that you be wary of your safety and that of others in any activity you undertake.
Breach of Duty of Care
This means that an individual or entity failed to handle something they are legally supposed to, particularly in their occupation. Your wrongful death attorney will help prove that the defendant didn’t perform their duty as expected, which resulted in the unexpected death of your family member.
Next, you are expected to show that the death of your loved one was directly connected to the defendant’s breach of duty. This is an imperative step as it helps clear any doubts that the deceased had any preexisting medical issues that may have contributed to their death.
This can be achieved in two ways. The first is to show that the defendant’s actions were negligent or malicious, thus leading to the victim’s death. The second is to show that the defendant’s lack of actions led to the individual’s death. Regardless, you are required to prove that the defendant’s acts directly caused the death.
Lastly, the law requires you to show that the victim incurred damages, with the most apparent being death. The Wrongful Death Act mandates that these damages be quantifiable. They include but are not limited to unpaid medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, etc.
With all these aspects involved in proving negligence, a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming for the average person. With the help of an experienced attorney, however, you can promptly gather the necessary evidence to make a solid case and prove liability.
How Do You Initiate a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
If you are not familiar with the wrongful death claim process, do not worry as you are not alone. It’s one of the reasons we have wrongful death lawyers on our team. When you lose a family member due to the negligence or reckless acts of another individual or entity, filing a wrongful death claim is certainly a smart move. Here is a quick look at what the process of a wrongful death lawsuit entails:
- Ascertaining Negligence
If you think that the death of your loved one was due to the actions or lack thereof by another party, the first step involves determining exactly who is responsible and how their acts lead to wrongful death.
- Ascertaining Liability
In order to determine liability, you need to have substantial evidence of what occurred and whose negligent actions resulted in wrongful death. In addition, you should make sure you collect evidence of all the damages incurred. This will come in handy in determining the party at fault.
- Hiring a Lawyer
A lawyer experienced in wrongful death law is vital in helping you not only gather the necessary evidence to make a strong case, but also determine liability. The lawyer will also handle guilty parties and insurance companies who can be extremely overwhelming in such cases.
- Making a Petition
Your settlement claim can’t be initiated until you’ve called a petition. It should clearly state that a wrongful death has occurred.
- Gathering Evidence
Collecting the necessary evidence allows you to prove that a particular party engaged in negligent or malicious actions that resulted in the death of your loved one. At this stage, you should engage your attorney as they are well-versed with the law and what would or wouldn’t qualify as evidence.
- Filing a Summon
A summon is meant to inform the defendant that you have filed a wrongful death claim against them.
- Service of Process
This is a document sent to the defendant to notify them about the summon.
Why Hire a Hollywood Wrongful Death Lawyer?
There are numerous reasons to seek legal representation from a lawyer with vast experience in wrongful death cases. Some of these include:
Legal Expertise – Wrongful death cases are some of the most complex and involve a variety of legal issues. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will have knowledge of the laws and regulations governing these cases and can help navigate the legal process.
Case Preparation – The right wrongful death lawyer will be able to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. They will leverage their skills and resources to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts to build a strong case on your behalf.
Compensation – A wrongful death attorney can help you seek compensation for the losses you have suffered as a result of the death of a loved one. This may include damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.
Objectivity – Losing a loved one is an emotional and difficult experience, and this makes it hard to approach the situation objectively. A wrongful death lawyer can provide a level-headed perspective and advocate for your rights in a professional and objective manner.
Negotiation – The right attorney can negotiate with insurance companies, healthcare providers, and other parties involved in the case to seek a fair settlement on your behalf. They can use their experience and knowledge to ensure that you are not taken advantage of and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Courtroom Experience – If your case goes to trial, a wrongful death lawyer can represent you in court and argue your case before a judge and jury. They can use their experience and knowledge to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make persuasive arguments on your behalf.
Time and Energy Savings – Pursuing a wrongful death case can be time-consuming and calls for a lot of energy. By hiring a wrongful death lawyer, you can save time and energy by letting them handle the legal details and paperwork. This allows you to focus on other important matters, such as supporting your family and grieving the loss of your loved one.
Peace of Mind – Losing a loved one can be a traumatic and stressful experience, and dealing with legal matters can add to that stress. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer can provide peace of mind and allow you to focus on grieving and healing while the lawyer handles the legal aspects of your case.
What is the Difference Between an Estate Claim and a Wrongful Death Claim?
Estate and wrongful death claims are quite similar in that they both arise following the death of an individual because of the fault of another person or entity. However, they differ when it comes to the damages and the parties eligible for filing the claims.
In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members participate through the estate’s representative to make a claim seeking justice and compensation. Damages recovered fall under economic and non-economic financial losses from the death of the victim. Examples include loss of income, loss of earning capacity, loss of companionship, etc.
In an estate claim, the victim’s representatives attempt to recover the expenses incurred during the funeral and burial. However, if the victim spent some time in pain and in a dire state before passing away, the representative could also claim medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc. In an estate claim, the victim’s representatives can also seek punitive damages. If they also had a will, it is presented in this type of claim.
There are more nuances to these two types of claims than stated here and so, it is important to consult your wrongful death lawyer for further assistance.
Hire a Professional Wrongful Death Lawyer in Hollywood Today!
The loss of a loved one comes with a lot of pain and burdens. The experience can be even more overwhelming if the death was due to a careless, negligent, or malicious party. While no amount of compensation can bring them back to life, it can offer a degree of comfort as you heal and adjust.
The team at Klotzman Law Firm understands that you should be able to grieve in peace and not be burdened by the complexities that come with wrongful death cases. That is why we are readily available to take on your case and work towards getting justice.
Wrongful death claims are met with a lot of defense tactics and even when the defendant accepts to be at fault, they will try to pay the lowest amount possible. You don’t have to worry about that as our team has exceptional negotiation skills that will have you get the settlement you deserve without necessarily going to court.
Our Hollywood wrongful death lawyers are ready to get work as soon as you contact us. We also operate on a contingency basis, meaning that you do not have to worry about the legal fees as you only pay when we win. The legal costs as deducted in the form of an agreed-upon percentage from the settlement amount. This type of structure not only allows you to trust our services but gives our team the incentive to perform at their best.
We are located in Hollywood and other areas in Florida. Call us today at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about your legal options!