Florida Wrongful Death Attorney
Did You Lose A Loved One To A Wrongful Death in Florida?
After a serious tragedy impacts your family, you understandably are reeling from the emotional trauma tied to your loss. The death of a loved one is always hard, and your grief may be magnified when that death was the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Your loved one may still be alive if the other party had simply taken reasonable steps to prevent the accident. A wrongful death lawsuit provides you with the opportunity to seek legal justice by holding the responsible party accountable.
At Shiner Law Group, we are the trusted South Florida law firm to contact when you need representation from a wrongful death lawyer. We understand the complexities of wrongful death cases, and we know how insurance companies try to minimize their payout to families like yours. Rest assured that we will stand by your side and represent your interests until the matter is settled with insurance companies and with at-fault parties.
Wrongful Death Overview – What Is a Wrongful Death?
Every death can create emotional turmoil for surviving family members. For deaths that could have been avoided, the anger and grief felt by the family can be even more intense. For example, if a distracted driver had simply put his phone away, he may not have struck and killed a pedestrian. If a physician had not misdiagnosed an illness or provided the wrong treatment for an injury, a patient may still be alive. In addition to these examples, some other wrongful death cases involve drunk driving, reckless driving, work-related injuries, cyclist accidents, product liability and even criminal activity. If you believe that your loved one’s death could have been prevented if someone else had simply acted differently, our legal team wants to discuss the details with you.
Keep in mind that a wrongful death claim is a civil case, and it stands independent of a criminal case. This means that you can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party regardless of whether criminal charges have been filed and regardless of the outcome of a criminal case.
Elements of a Florida Wrongful Death Case
From a legal standpoint, all wrongful death cases must meet specific criteria. The most obvious of these elements is the death of a person. In addition, the death must clearly be caused by the intentional actions or by the neglect of the other party. The other party may be an individual, a business, an organization or even the government. The surviving family members must be suffering financially from the loss of their loved one, and the deceased’s estate must have a named representative. With a closer look at these elements, you can more clearly see how your wrongful death case may be viewed from a legal standpoint. Each of these elements will be reviewed by our legal team during a free initial consultation so that you can learn about the strength of your case before taking any additional action.
Accident or Intentional Acts
While all deaths are tragic and many are caused by accidents, there is not always a clear party who is responsible for the accident. For example, if two cars slid on icy roads and their drivers were taking all reasonable steps to avoid a collision, neither party may be at-fault. On the other hand, if one of those drivers was speeding, driving aggressively or otherwise intentionally acting in a dangerous manner, there may be justification for a wrongful death lawsuit. If faulty vehicle parts or poor auto service contributed to the accident, the parts manufacturer or the service shop may be named in the wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death is not always related to another party’s intentional actions. Negligence is also justification for a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if a company negligently failed to test its products for safety or to label products accordingly, that negligence may be taken into account in a court case. Negligence may be tied to workplace safety issues, medical malpractice and other cases as well. Generally, the other person or party has failed to take reasonable and expected steps, and this has resulted in an unnecessary death.
There are two components to this element of a wrongful death case. First, the intentional or negligent actions of the other party have contributed to the death of your loved one. Second, this preventable death has created financial loss for you and your family. This loss may be tied to medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and more. These are financial impacts that your family would not be experiencing if the at-fault party had acted reasonably to prevent the death of your loved one. The compensation from a wrongful death case may be used to pay off all outstanding expenses related to your loved one’s death. It may also be used to maintain your family’s quality of life going forward.
Wrongful Death Insurance Claims in Florida
In many cases, the at-fault party has a liability insurance policy, and you will need to file an insurance claim against that policy in order to obtain compensation that you and your family may be rightfully entitled to. Liability insurance is usually included on auto insurance policies, homeowners insurance policies, business insurance policies, malpractice insurance policies and more.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to settle for a lower amount than what the impacted party may actually be entitled to. They may use the fact that you are dealing with overwhelming grief and stress to manipulate the situation in their favor or even to fight back against the claim entirely. At Shiner Law Group, we understand the tactics that insurance companies use to minimize their payout, and we know how to hold them accountable so that our clients receive a fair settlement.
Keep in mind that liability insurance policies are written with a maximum limit on the coverage. In some cases, the amount owed to the impacted party may exceed the policy’s limit. The at-fault party’s coverage limit does not impact the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to. If that coverage is exhausted, the at-fault party may be required to pay the rest of the settlement out of pocket.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?
Many of our clients who request legal assistance from a wrongful death attorney want to know if they can file a claim or otherwise who can. In many cases, the claim is filed by the named representative of the deceased’s estate. That representative will make decisions related to the settlement and will be responsible for dividing the settlement funds to all affected parties.
Generally, this is the spouse or domestic partner of the deceased. If the deceased did not have a spouse or a domestic partner, this responsibility may fall on an adult child’s shoulders. In some cases, the deceased’s parents or guardians will file the lawsuit. As part of the proceedings, legal documents will need to be provided to the court that show the relationship between the deceased individual and the person who is filing the lawsuit. This is typically an easy legal requirement to satisfy.
Keep in mind that the wrongful death claim must be filed within the statute of limitations. In Florida, this statue of limitations is 24 months, and this timeline begins on the date of the deceased’s death. In some cases, grief from the trauma and loss can lead to a delayed filing. Once the statute of limitations window has passed, you cannot legally file a wrongful death claim, and you may no longer obtain compensation that you and your family may otherwise have had a right to.
When you contact Shiner Law Group, we will handle all of the paperwork, court filings, negotiations and other aspects of the case on your behalf. We will always remain in close communication with you throughout the proceedings. However, because we will do the heavy lifting from a legal perspective, you can protect your rights in this area while also giving yourself the space and time that you need to mourn.
How A Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
Hiring a wrongful death attorney to represent you after the death of a loved one can seem like a major move, and you may wonder if this is the right step to take at this time. After the unexpected and preventable death of a loved one, your grief and stress level may be heightened by the anger that you feel. These are intense emotions, and you may find some relief by seeking justice through the legal system. A lawsuit can be a source of stress as well, but our legal team at Shiner Law Group will actively work toward a positive outcome on your behalf. We ensure that all deadlines are met, that paperwork is filed properly and that other essential steps are taken so that our clients can focus on getting through this difficult time.
Without a wrongful death lawyer working on your behalf, you may be inclined to let the waters settle and to clear your mind before you get involved in a lawsuit. Because of the statue of limitations, waiting too long to file a lawsuit and to seek justice through the court system can have a negative outcome. Our legal team is available to begin working on your case so that the case can be properly filed before the deadline.
It is not necessary to hire a lawyer to file a wrongful death claim, but this step is advisable. Your case may involve fighting against insurance companies who have experienced legal professionals working on their behalf. Their legal team may have worked on many similar cases in the past, and they know how to mount an effective defense. You need a lawyer who can strategically weaken these defense strategies. Likewise, if your wrongful death case is against an individual, a business or another entity, they may also be represented by experienced legal professionals. You cannot take chances with this important matter, so you need an experienced legal team working on your behalf.
Insurance companies and other affected parties will work to settle the claim in their favor. At Shiner Law Group, we will strategically represent you and fight for a fair solution. You will not be bullied around by insurance companies and others when our team is working for you. We provide you with an effective way to work toward an equitable outcome so that you do not accept less than what may be owed to you.
Wrongful Death FAQ’s
If you are like many of our other new clients, this is your first experience with a wrongful death incident. It may even be your first experience with a legal case. We know that you may have many questions about the experience and about your case that require answers before you take the next important step of contacting us.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
One of the more common questions that our new clients ask us is about the need for a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death claims. Given the profound and devastating impact that this matter has had on your family’s lives and that it will continue to have going forward, pursuing justice through the legal system is important. While a wrongful death claim will not reduce the grief that you are feeling, a fair settlement may give you peace knowing that justice has been served. It may also reduce or eliminate financial stress going forward so that you and your family can focus on mourning and recovering from this painful event.
While the outcome of a wrongful death case can have a life-changing effect on your life and on your family’s lives, the road to that outcome can be challenging and complicated. Our legal team can masterfully move your case forward so that your stress level is minimized while a fair outcome is achieved.
When Should I Schedule a Legal Consultation?
The best time to schedule a legal consultation with our legal team at Shiner Law Group is today. The clock will continue to tick away toward the statute of limitations deadline. This is a firm deadline, and the case must actually be filed in court before this deadline. The consultation is only the first step to take before the claim can be filed. Our legal team will need to gather the facts and prepare the documents to file before this deadline as well. You cannot take chances with something as important as this, so connecting with our team to begin the legal process as soon as possible is important.
What Do I Need for my Initial Consultation?
A wrongful death claim must meet several criteria, and an initial consultation provides our legal team with the opportunity to review the details of your claim. By doing so, we can determine if your case is viable, and we can answer your questions about the legal process. This provides you with reasonable expectations for the path in front of you.
Each wrongful death claim is unique, so the information that you should bring with you is specific to the situation. Some of the items that may be applicable to your situation includes medical records, receipts or invoices for other related expenses, police reports, videos or photos, an estimate of lost wages and any other documentation that you have gathered related to the incident.
What Happens at the Initial Consultation?
At Shiner Law Group, we provide a free consultation to all of our new clients. This consultation provides our legal team with the opportunity to learn about the details of your claim and to ensure that we have the skillset and expertise to work on the case. It also provides you with the opportunity to determine how strong your case is and what the legal process may entail. With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed with the claim through the legal system or not. To maximize the benefit of an initial consultation, we recommend that you bring as much related documentation as possible for our team to review.
Hiring A Florida Wrongful Death Attorney Near Me
Each law firm has a different fee structure. Some firms will bill you hourly regardless of the outcome, and the hourly rate charged by local law firms varies considerably. At Shiner Law Group, we work on a contingency basis. This means that you will not pay for our services unless and until you receive compensation from the claim. You and your family are under enough stress at this time, and paying out-of-pocket for legal fees can pile on financial stress unnecessarily. When you visit with our legal team for a complimentary initial consultation, we will answer your questions about our fees so that you can feel comfortable and confident moving forward with your wrongful death claim. Contact Shiner Law Group by phone at (561) 777-7700 or online today to set up a free consultation with our team.