Hollywood FL Wrongful Death Lawyer
A death is considered wrongful when another individual or entity is directly or indirectly responsible. It doesn’t matter whether the death was accidental or intentional, the family members of the deceased deserve to have the opportunity to hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence. Wrongful death lawsuits can be hard to manage when you’re still grieving, but acting now can be crucial to the outcome of your case.
Having a highly qualified Hollywood FL wrongful death lawyer represent your case can help you make sense of the legal process and understand how much your family could recover. At Fischer Redavid PLLC, we make ourselves available to our clients in their time of mourning. We can answer questions, explain the process, and provide you with the tools and resources you need to get through this difficult time.
When a loved one dies and their death could have been prevented if not for the irresponsible conduct of another, your family may be able to bring them to justice with the help of a seasoned wrongful death lawyer in Hollywood FL.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can be a confusing concept because there are often criminal charges that apply in the same set of circumstances. But while criminal charges are brought by the government and are intended to serve the interests of the public, a wrongful death claim is a civil suit brought by a decedent’s estate or their survivors, and it serves the financial interests of the claimant. A deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents can bring a wrongful death claim in Florida. So can any blood relative or adoptive sibling who depended, at least partially, on the decedent for support.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases are like personal injury cases, except that they result in the death of the victim instead of only injuries. If your loved one would have had the ability to file a personal injury claim had he or she survived the injury, you (or a family member) most likely have the power to file a wrongful death claim. Any act of negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct that results in the death of another person could be grounds for a wrongful death claim in Florida. Many types of wrongful death cases exist, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycleand pedestrian accidents
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Struck-by objects
- Swimming pool accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Accidental poisoning/overdose
- Sports incidents
- Child injuries
- Work-related accidents
- Defective and dangerous products
Almost any circumstances could culminate in a wrongful death claim if the elements required for a lawsuit are present: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Consult a Hollywood wrongful death lawyer to discuss your options for a lawsuit, no matter what took your loved one’s life. Finding out whether your family has grounds to file a claim is the first step toward what could be a lifetime of financial stability for surviving family members. It could also be the first step toward obtaining justice and closure.
How to Determine Fault for Wrongful Death
You must prove the defendant’s fault for a fatal accident before you and your family can recover damages for the death of a loved one. Proving negligence is the plaintiff’s responsibility in personal injury and wrongful death claims. Proving fault takes showing “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care, breached this duty, and thereby caused the circumstances that killed your loved one. Determining fault is something you (and your lawyer) must do before you can even file a claim. Here are a few steps that may be involved in the process:
- Call the police. Fatal accidents of all kinds require official visits from Hollywood police. Call 911 if you’re at the scene of the accident or request a copy of the police report later if you weren’t at the scene. An official police write-up of the incident can give you (and your wrongful death case) important information, evidence, and opinions that could help you determine who is at fault.
- Contact an insurance company. Its involvement can answer the question of fault for wrongful death, because the insurer will launch its own investigation into the auto accident or other incident using a claims adjuster. It is the adjuster’s job to determine fault for the accident. There may not be an insurance company to involve if your loved one’s death did not occur because of a car accident.
- Gather information yourself. Hiring a professional is the easiest way to determine fault for wrongful death, but the process can run much smoother if you have plenty of information available about your case. Start collecting information about the fatal accident from day one. Take photographs, gather documents and medical records, and keep all case facts organized in a file. Facts and evidence will help you determine fault.
- Request help from an attorney. Contacting the Hollywood wrongful death lawyers at Fischer Redavid PLLC can put you in touch with people who can preserve key evidence, build a case, and identify the correct responsible party. More than one person or entity could share fault for your loved one’s death. For example, in a car accident claim, another driver and an airbag manufacturer could share fault. Our lawyers can help you name the right defendant(s).
A judge or jury will listen to the facts of the case and decide whether the defendant was more likely than not responsible for the death during your wrongful death claim. It is up to you as the plaintiff to properly identify the correct person, company, or agency at fault for the death of your loved one. Determining and proving fault requires enough evidence against the defendant, as well as abiding by all applicable court rules. Our skilled Hollywood wrongful death lawyer can help.
Statute of Limitations in Florida
Don’t wait around if you believe you have the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit. Florida, like all states, has strict statutes of limitations, or deadlines, for filing these types of claims. Statutes of limitations aim to encourage plaintiffs to bring their claims in a timely manner, so defendants have fair odds of defending themselves. Waiting 10 years to bring a claim, for example, could result in the loss of important evidence and the inability of a defendant to argue against a claim.
The wrongful death statute of limitations in Florida is two years from the date of death in most cases. However, the courts may “toll”, or extend, the deadline in limited circumstances. Cases involving asbestos, for instance, may have longer statutes of limitations, because victims don’t often realize their illnesses until decades after initial exposure. Cases involving child claimants or criminal acts (such as driving under the influence) may also have longer deadlines, depending on the situation. Discuss your case with an attorney to determine your exact statute of limitations.
What if I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline?
The deadline to file wrongful death lawsuits in Florida is strict. Missing your deadline almost always means giving up your right to compensation. The courts will only make exceptions in very specific circumstances. When you trust us with your claim, we’ll let you know your deadline and start the filing process right away to make sure you meet the time limit.
What’s Different About Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Hollywood FL
Wrongful death lawsuits are different from any criminal charges the responsible party may face. A Hollywood FL wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim brought forward by the personal representative of the deceased; criminal charges are filed by the prosecutor. There is no guarantee that criminal charges will be filed.
Another difference: Wrongful death claims seek to hold the at-fault party financially accountable for the harm they caused; criminal charges often seek legal penalties such as jail or prison time, probation, hefty fines, community service, and more.
Hollywood FL Wrongful Death Laws to Know
If you are interested in seeking justice for your loved one, you first need to make sure you have the right to file the claim. Only the personal representative of the decedent can file a claim, but if the deceased did not have the opportunity to assign one, the courts will do so on their behalf.
No matter who files the Hollywood FL claim, the damages recovered in the claim will be for the benefit of the decedent’s estate and any surviving family members.
Although this information may be overwhelming, you may need to contact an attorney to discuss your case soon, as the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Florida is just two years from the fatal accident.
Reach Out to a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Hollywood FL
If you are interested in further discussing your legal options after a loved one’s wrongful death, contact an experienced Hollywood FL wrongful death lawyer at Fischer Redavid PLLC.