Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyer
At Douglas & Douglas, our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers are frequently called upon to represent accident victims who have suffered some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries imaginable in Florida motor vehicle accidents. Some accidents are so severe that the victim does not survive the accident. In those situations, Florida law allows the person’s estate or family members to pursue a Wrongful Death claim against the negligent driver, to hold that driver accountable for his or her negligence and to help the family members left behind deal with the costs and challenges this loss has produced in their lives. Our wrongful death lawyers are here for you during this difficult time and will work diligently to recover a fair amount of compensation to help you deal with your loss. Losing a beloved family member to another’s negligence is hard enough; you should not be further harmed with financial hardships during this difficult time.
Types of Incidents That Lead to Wrongful Death Cases
- Car collisions;
- Truck collisions;
- Motorcycle collisions;
- Pedestrian collisions;
- Bicycle collisions;
- Defective products;
- Egregious workplace accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Boating accidents;
- Defective drugs and medical devices;
- Nursing home neglect; and
- Premises liability, including the following:
- Slip and fall;
- Dog attacks;
- Burns; and
Traffic collisions make up the largest number and percentage of wrongful death claims. For the past two years, over 37,000 people were killed in the U.S. in traffic collisions. Florida in particular is one of the most dangerous states, especially for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. In 2016 alone, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that 3,174 people died in Florida traffic collisions. Due to the draw that our state has for retirees, there are thousands of nursing home and assisted living facilities, and many of these are staffed by careless and sometimes cruel individuals, and managed by employers who only care about making a profit. When it comes to backyard pools, few states can match the quantity that Florida has. While pleasant during the hottest months, pools need to be secured by proper fencing to keep small children safe. There are hundreds of ways in which a wrongful death occurs. And while as tragic as the death is, the cause of the death must be pursued by a wrongful death attorney to ensure that the negligent party is held responsible.
Facts about Florida Wrongful Death Law
Florida’s wrongful death statute allows a lawsuit for any death caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract which would have provided the basis for a personal injury lawsuit if the person had not died. The lawsuit can be brought by the personal representative of the estate, and certain family members who survived the deceased may also join in the lawsuit. These family members include the spouse, children, parents, and siblings or other blood relatives if they depended in some way on the deceased for support.
If successful in proving that the other party’s negligence was responsible for causing the death, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit can recover the following damages:
- Final medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of earnings from the date of injury to the date of death
- Loss of net earnings the person could have been expected to accumulate had premature death not occurred
- Loss of support
- Loss of services
- Loss of the companionship and protection of a spouse
- Loss of the companionship, instruction and guidance of a parent
- Mental pain and suffering for the loss of a spouse, parent or child
Economists are often sought as experts when it comes to Florida wrongful death cases because the calculations can get complex. For instance, lost earnings don’t just take into account the deceased’s current earnings. The court must also consider what employment benefits, such as health insurance, were lost and anticipate what the future earnings growth based on inflation. According to the Florida Bar Journal, an economist hired for the case Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. Ageloff predicted a 10% wage growth rate, which included both the price of inflation and the predicted increase in wages over time based on increased productivity that can be expected from an employee. While economists can be helpful in these cases, their testimony is not mandatory in the Florida courts.
What is the Timeline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
In Florida a family member has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to consult with a lawyer prior to the statute of limitations running past the two-year marker because the circumstances when a wrongful death lawsuit can begin after those two years are up are extremely rare.
How Our Lake City and Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyers can Help
Since one or even both parties involved in a serious car accident may be deceased, wrongful death lawsuits can be especially difficult to prove. Our decades of experience handling car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, pedestrian and boating accident cases in Lake City and Jacksonville means we know how to investigate an accident, determine who was at fault, and gather the facts necessary to prove a case of negligence and wrongful death. Losing a loved one is hard enough without having to overcome financial hardships at the same time. Let us help you hold negligent parties accountable for their actions and get you the financial help you need to care for yourself and your family.
Experienced Legal Representation for Wrongful Death in Lake City and Jacksonville
We understand that this is the time to grieve, to remember and cherish the life that was lost, and to be with family and loved ones. No amount of financial compensation will make this tragedy okay. However, the financial compensation that you are entitled to can go towards building a stable financial future, pay for medical bills to stay out of bankruptcy, cover funeral and burial costs, allow a young one to go to college, and to keep on top of the mortgage payments. If you have lost a loved one because of the negligence of another in Lake City or Jacksonville, contact Douglas & Douglas for a no-cost, confidential consultation with an experienced and successful Jacksonville wrongful death attorney.