Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys
The loss of a loved one or family member can be devastating. That’s especially true if your family member lost their life due to a preventable act of recklessness or negligence.
Money is not the most important consideration after the passing of a loved one. However, filing a wrongful death suit and recovering damages can help you and your family emotionally heal and financially stabilize.
You should consider consulting with the best wrongful death attorney in Florida under the following circumstances:
- Your loved one or family member suffered injuries resulting in death.
- The injuries and subsequent death resulted from another party’s intentional, negligent, or reckless actions.
- The death occurred within two years, or if it was the result of medical malpractice, within two years from the time of the incident or discovery of the incident.
If a loved one died due to negligence or carelessness, you and your family deserve maximum compensation. Contact Schrier Law Group at 1-800-700-PAUL to speak with a wrongful death attorney today.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit According to the State of Florida?
According to Florida Statutes 768.19 – 768.20, a deceased individual’s personal representative can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of immediate relatives.
A wrongful death lawsuit allows family members of the deceased to seek compensatory damages from the at-fault business or individual for negligent behavior that led to wrongful death.
For example, if a person suffers a wrongful death due to careless electrical wiring in their home, their landlord may be liable. Wrongful death suits are civil matters. However, depending on the circumstances, the defendant(s) may still face criminal prosecution.
Generally, wrongful death claims involve acts that are negligent, reckless, and/or intentional. Learn more about each below.
To prove negligence, your wrongful death attorney must first establish that the defendant had a “duty of care” in the situation where the death occurred.
A duty of care is a legal obligation of an individual or organization to avoid certain acts or omissions of acts that can reasonably be understood to cause harm to another person.
A wrongful death attorney must demonstrate how the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care as well as how that act or lack thereof led to death. Parties who are subject to provide a reasonable duty of care include but are not limited to:
- Health care professionals
- Property owners
- Tour guides
- Individuals involved in accidents
- Transportation services
Reckless conduct includes unintentionally risky acts that disregard the well-being of others. Generally, an act is only considered reckless if the person who commits it knew or should have known that their actions would likely lead to injury or death. For example, spitting gasoline on an open flame to impress friends could be considered reckless if it leads to wrongful death.
A few more common examples of reckless acts that can lead to a wrongful death claims include but are not limited to:
- A drunk driver gets into a collision and kills a passenger, another driver, a pedestrian, etc.
- An individual takes medication from a person who needs it, and as a result the victim dies.
- An automobile manufacturer neglects to recall a defective airbag (after they knew about it), and a driver dies due to faulty airbag deployment.
- An individual drives at reckless speeds (i.e., street racing) and causes an accident that takes another person’s life.
Most intentional acts of murder are prosecuted criminally. However, defendants may still face a wrongful death lawsuit brought on behalf of the deceased family. If your family member was murdered, it’s in your best interest to consult with a wrongful death attorney who understands both criminal and civil procedures.
Murder and manslaughter are not the only types of intentional torts that can result in a wrongful death claim. Generally, any deliberate acts (i.e., assault, battery, false imprisonment, poisoning, arson, etc.) that result in the victim’s death can lead to criminal charges as well as a wrongful death suit.
Causes of Wrongful Death
If your family member lost their life due to avoidable circumstances, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven wrongful death attorney to discuss the merits of your case. Consulting with an attorney before filing a personal injury claim can save you time, money, and a lot of confusion.
Continue reading to learn more about the most common causes of wrongful death in Florida.
Suppose a licensed physician fails to accurately diagnose a fatal condition that subsequently causes their patient to die. Under Florida’s medical malpractice laws, the survivors may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against:
- The hospital
- Physician’s assistant
- Other medical care providers involved
Further, acts of negligence like neglecting to provide reasonable care to a patient who dies may be considered medical malpractice as well. Medical malpractice lawsuits are complex, lengthy, and notoriously challenging without the help of a proven wrongful death attorney.
There are many ways medical malpractice can result in a wrongful death suit. Some of the most common examples of fatal medical mistakes include:
- Failure to diagnose – This can occur when a physician fails to diagnose a fatal condition properly. Generally, the longer it takes to diagnose a potentially fatal condition accurately, the more likely a patient is to die.
- Improper diagnostic readings – Suppose a doctor or lab technician makes a mistake when reading health test results, accidentally mixes results from another patient, or neglects to inform a patient of potentially fatal findings. In that case, they may be liable for any fatalities sustained as a result of their mistake.
- Surgical mistakes – Surgical mistakes occur more often than you may think. Some of the most common surgical errors resulting in wrongful death include mistakes in administering anesthesia, surgery on the wrong area of the body, surgical instruments left in the body, and more.
- Unnecessary procedures – When a doctor performs an unnecessary surgery (i.e., a procedure that doesn’t treat any of the patient’s conditions), it can lead to life-threatening complications that would have otherwise not existed.
- Wrong medications – Medication is meant to heal existing conditions. However, if a physician makes a mistake when prescribing the type of medication or dose, it can lead to a fatal outcome. Further, a physician may be guilty of prescribing the wrong medication (for the right condition) if they don’t consider a patient’s medical history, including allergies, current prescriptions, etc.
- Lack of sufficient aftercare – Addressing medical concerns via medication, surgery, etc., is an essential aspect of healthcare. However, when a health care facility and/or physician neglects to provide adequate aftercare, it can sometimes lead to a patient’s death.
- Ignoring medical history – Before a physician prescribes medication, recommends surgery, or any other course of treatment, they must consider a patient’s medical history. Neglecting to do so can result in serious injuries, up to death.
- Birth injuries – Wrongful deaths resulting from healthcare provider-induced birth injuries occur too often. If a mother or baby dies as a result of medical mistakes during pregnancy or birth, it could result in a wrongful death suit.
It’s essential to note that proving a medical mistake resulted in the death of a loved one can be challenging. For example, suppose a nurse gives a patient the wrong medication dosage. Multiple parties may be liable in that case, including the nurse, physician, lab technicians, pharmacist, etc.
According to Florida Statute 766.102, medical malpractice plaintiffs have the burden of proving “by the greater weight of evidence” that the alleged actions of a medical provider breached current professional healthcare standards. That can be a difficult task for the average person to accomplish alone.
In most cases, identifying liable parties in medical malpractice wrongful death claims requires a lengthy investigation, expert medical witnesses, and an in-depth understanding of Florida medical malpractice and wrongful death laws.
Motor vehicle accidents
If a person negligently operates a motor vehicle and it results in death, they can be sued for wrongful death in Florida. Common examples of negligent driving include but are not limited to drunk driving, running red lights, drag racing on public roads, distracted driving, reckless driving, etc.
Regardless of a person’s reason for driving recklessly (i.e., late to work, important phone call, etc.), they can be held liable for injuries and fatalities caused as a result of their actions. However, proving liability typically requires a proven Florida wrongful death lawyer’s knowledge, persistence, and experience.
Some of the most common types of car collisions that lead to death include, but are not limited to:
- Side-Impact Accidents – Also called T-bone collisions, side-impact accidents are a leading cause of death on Florida highways. That’s because most cars are not designed to absorb significant collisions from the side. Car passengers are particularly vulnerable to side impacts resulting in substantial injury or death.
- Head-On Accidents – Head-on collisions are not as common as side-impact accidents. However, they are much more deadly. Regardless of a vehicle’s safety rating, the force generated by two fast-moving cars colliding head-on is often too much for the human body to handle and results in serious injuries or fatalities.
- Truck Accidents – Collisions with 18-wheelers, commercial trucks, and other large vehicles dramatically increase the risk of death. However, due to the number of parties typically involved, determining liability (and recouping damages) in truck accident wrongful death suits isn’t always easy.
- Defective Equipment – Suppose a wrongful death occurs as a result of defective brakes, tires, etc. In that case, neither driver may be liable for the accident. The car manufacturer may be responsible. Winning a wrongful death claim against an auto manufacturer for defective parts can take months (or years) of investigation and negotiations.
If you’re loved one lost their life due to reckless, intentional, or negligent acts of another driver, they can and should be held liable for damages. Contact Schrier Law Group today to discuss the details of your case.
Airplane, train, bus, boat, or other transportation-related accidents
Captains, pilots, and transportation companies sometimes make deadly mistakes. If your loved one lost their life due to carelessness or negligence on behalf of a transportation company, you might be eligible to sue for wrongful death in Florida.
Criminal attacks can be prosecuted criminally as well as civilly. If someone intentionally kills another person, they may be responsible for monetary damages in addition to any criminal penalties levied against them.
Criminal attacks that lead to unintentional death, like an armed robbery gone wrong or killing someone while fleeing the scene of a crime, can still be eligible for a wrongful death claim.
It’s important to note that the criminal and civil cases are dealt with separately. That means that a criminal conviction doesn’t always lead to a successful civil case, and vice versa.
Federal and state laws require commercial products to be safe for consumer use. If a defective product causes death, the company that sold, manufactured, or distributed the product may be liable for compensatory damages.
Generally, product defects that can lead to a wrongful death claim in Florida include:
- Products with defective designs
- Products with manufacturing defects
- Products with marketing defects
Proving liability for wrongful death due to defective products can be a challenging process. That’s especially true if you don’t have an attorney. Working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you determine fault and pursue damages from the at-fault party.
Explosions at home, at work, or in public might be the result of negligence or carelessness. Individuals who suffer a wrongful death due to an explosion on an oil rig, gas line, pipeline, or oil tanker may be victims of careless activities.
Food poisoning doesn’t just cause a bad stomach ache. In extreme cases, food poisoning can lead to death. For example, suppose a head chef at a restaurant stores cooked meat with uncooked meat. A customer eats at the restaurant, and as a result of unsanitary practices, they die from food poisoning. In that case, the restaurant may be liable in a wrongful death suit.
Failure to keep property safe (dangerous conditions on someone’s property)
Wrongful death due to property negligence happens more often than you might think. In general, property owners must provide reasonably safe conditions for inhabitants and guests. If they neglect to do so, and their negligence leads to death, they may be liable.
Common Examples of Unsafe Conditions in Wrongful Death Premises Liability Cases
Employers and property owners owe their employees and visitors a duty of care. That means if they fail to provide workers or guests a safe environment, and it results in death, they can be held liable.
However, it’s essential to note that under most circumstances, property owners are not liable for injuries or deaths to trespassers. Additionally, unlike most workplace personal injury cases, when a wrongful death occurs, the victim’s family can pursue damages under worker’s compensation laws and wrongful death laws.
Some of the most common examples of unsafe conditions resulting in wrongful death claims in Florida include but are not limited to:
- Failure to adequately clear ice or snow hazards
- Animal attacks
- Lack of reasonably adequate security
- Chemical leaks
- Accidents on stairs, elevators, or escalators
- Slip and fall accidents
Work-related exposure to dangerous conditions or substances
Exposure to dangerous chemicals or conditions doesn’t just happen on construction sites. It can happen anywhere. If an employer doesn’t provide adequate training, safety equipment, or a safe environment, they may be liable for deaths resulting from their negligence.
Most work-related accidents that involve exposure to dangerous chemicals or conditions are covered under Florida’s worker’s compensation laws. However, if the wrongful death of an employee occurred due to the negligence of a third party, that person’s estate can potentially pursue a wrongful death claim.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
Proving wrongful death typically involves meeting the same burden of proof requirements that the victim would have if they were still alive. With that in mind, a Florida wrongful death attorney can help:
- Interpret and apply Florida personal injury and wrongful death laws
- Negotiate a settlement on your family’s behalf
- Pursue maximum compensatory damages for the loss of your loved one
Further, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can be beneficial if you and your family face the following consequences resulting from the avoidable death of your loved one.
- Loss of future financial support
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of the victim’s love, companionship, comfort, affection, protection, and moral support
- Loss of consortium (a spouse may sue for loss of the romantic/sexual relationship)
- Loss of the victim’s care and guidance as a parent
- Costs of funeral and burial expenses
Individuals and families pursuing compensation for wrongful death are not required to hire an attorney. However, failing to do so can lead to failed litigation efforts, wasted time, lowball settlement offers, and more.
Contact Schrier Injury Law Today About Your Wrongful Death Case in Florida
Wrongful death claims are among the most challenging types of personal injury cases. At Schrier Law Group in Miami, Florida our wrongful death attorneys are compassionate, experienced, and determined to recover maximum compensation for your family’s loss.
We’re here to assist you in recovering maximum damages for the loss of your loved one. Our wrongful death lawyers in Florida will:
- Investigate the cause of the wrongful death
- Collect pertinent evidence (i.e., video footage, medical evidence, etc.)
- Identify eyewitnesses and expert witnesses
- Negotiate with insurance providers
- Represent the deceased’s personal representative in court
- Hold liable parties responsible
- Recover maximum damages for your wrongful death claim
Don’t wait until it’s too late to pursue justice and maximum compensation for the loss of your loved one. The sooner you give us a call, the faster we can start working on your case.
If you’ve lost a family member or loved one due to reckless or careless actions of another person or organization, we can help. Contact Schrier Law Group today for your free initial consultation.
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