Broward County Wrongful Death Lawyers
She was a rising star with a popular YouTube channel and a third-place finish on “The Voice,” until a deranged fan shot and killed Christina Grimmie while she signed autographs after a concert outside The Plaza Live in Orlando. The family of the fallen singer claims AEG Live and Orlando Orchestra Foundation Inc., which owns the Plaza Live, failed to provide adequate security for Grimmie.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family seeks compensation for medical and funeral expenses, damages and the income Grimmie would have gained during her career had she not been murdered.
The wrongful death lawsuit also claims that Grimmie’s half-brother suffered injury and permanent emotional damage after watching his sister die, before tackling the gunman who fatally shot himself.
When negligence or misconduct results in the death of another including murder – as alleged in the case of Christina Grimmie – the surviving members of the victim’s family may sue for wrongful death.
However, only a representative of the descendant’s estate may file a claim on behalf of the surviving family members.
Wrongful death lawsuits are heard in civil court and generally follow a verdict in the criminal trial. In most cases, attorneys will present similar evidence, but the level of certainty – or standard of proof – to convict is less demanding.
That means defendants in a wrongful death suit may be found liable regardless of whether they were convicted of a crime associated with the death.
Liable, however, does not mean guilty. OJ Simpson, the former football star, and actor was found not guilty of murder, but liable for the death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Simpson could not go to jail, but he was ordered to pay a cash settlement to the Goldman family.
More recently, the father of a student killed in the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the shooter and the estate of his late mother, a couple who housed him, and the mental health facilities that evaluated him; even though a criminal verdict has yet to be reached.
Wrongful deaths in Florida are most often the result of an automobile accident and the negligence of a driver who is speeding or under the influence.
Medical malpractice stemming from the failure to properly diagnose a condition, accidents at work, neglectful oversight during supervised activities, airplane or truck accident and defective products also provoke thousands of wrongful death lawsuits each year.
In Florida when death “is caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” by another individual or legal entity, the estate of the deceased may file a civil lawsuit to seek compensation.
In most cases, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in Florida within two years of the date of the death.
Common causes of a wrongful death:
- Vehicle accidents, including boats, motorcycles, and commercial trucks
- Residential and commercial premises liability cases, slip and fall injuries
- Firearm injuries
After hearing evidence, a jury establishes liability and the size of the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Surviving family members or the estate of the victim may be awarded compensatory damages based on a value of the potential services and support the deceased may have provided; loss of companionship, guidance and protection following a death; mental pain and anguish suffered; and medical or funeral services paid on behalf of the departed.
In the rare event that a party had actual knowledge of the wrongdoings and the high probability of injury or harm, a jury may decide to punish the defendant and award punitive damages as well.
In Florida, that means the behavior of the defendant was “intentional misconduct.” Most cases involving punitive awards are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages to each plaintiff named in the suit or a total of $500,000.
However, depending on the circumstances surrounding guilt, a jury may level higher awards or waive the cap completely.
No amount of money can compensate for the loss of life, however, compensation is usually awarded for three (3) reasons:
- Medical Bills
- Pain and Suffering
- Lost Wages
But, you may be eligible for compensation based on the income or level of emotional support that a loved one would have provided had they not been subject to the wrongful actions of another.
Some wrongful deaths awards are the responsibility of the defendant’s insurance company and can be settled soon after a claim is filed.
Others, however, may take longer to settle when the case is complex and the insurance company makes lowball offers.
Death is a difficult period, especially if a loss could have been avoided. Our attorneys will meet with you, walk you through your options, construct a strategy that you can be comfortable with, and fight for the compensation you deserve.
About Shiner Law Group
Founded on the principles of dedicated service, honest communications and competent and aggressive representation, Shiner Law Group, based in Boca Raton, serves individuals and business in civil cases throughout Florida including Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, and St. Lucie counties.
If you have suffered unnecessary physical or financial harm, you have the fundamental right in the State of Florida to choose an attorney. Call Shiner Law Group at (954) 999-9900 for a free consultation, 24/7.