Wrongful Death Lawyer in Lakeland, FL
Mourning the death of someone close to you is never easy. The grief is only made worse when the death is someone else’s fault. In Florida, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim seeking financial compensation and justice from the responsible party.
At Brooks Law Group, we understand the idea of filing a wrongful death lawsuit may seem overwhelming. However, the unexpected death of a loved one is often accompanied by significant financial demands. These are due to unexpected medical bills, funeral costs, and reduced household income. Recovering fair compensation can ease the strain of these burdens on you and your family.
When you work with us, our legal team handles everything so you can grieve in peace. We work diligently to minimize disruptions to your life while fighting for the results you deserve.
There’s no cost or obligation to learn your legal options. Contact us today for a confidential, free consultation with a Lakeland wrongful death attorney.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
A wrongful death is any death that results from the negligent action of another party. In this context, it does not matter if it was intentional or unintentional. The leading causes of wrongful death include:
- Motor vehicle accidents – Tens of thousands of Americans die each year in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents caused by negligent drivers.
- Workplace accidents – Unsafe work environments contributed to more than 5,000 worker fatalities in a recent year. This equals one worker’s death every 99 minutes.
- Slip and fall accidents – Falls are the second-most common cause of injury-related death for people between 65 and 84 and the most common cause for those 85 and older. But deadly slip and fall accidents can happen to anyone if a property owner or landlord fails to repair dangerous conditions on their premises.
- Unsafe products – Defective products, such as faulty tires or power tools, can leave even the most careful users with fatal injuries.
- Nursing home abuse – Elder abuse is a serious problem in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In a recent analysis of self-reports by residents, researchers found a high prevalence of neglect and psychological, physical, financial, and sexual abuse in institutions.
- Dog bite injuries – One study found that nearly 570 Americans died in dog bite incidents over a 16-year period. Many dog bite victims are children under the age of 10.
- Medical malpractice – Studies suggest medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in America, trailing only heart disease and cancer.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Lakeland, FL?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil claim that is very different from a criminal case. When a person is convicted of criminal charges, they can face penalties like fines, probation, or jail time. But in a wrongful death case, the at-fault party may be ordered to pay compensation to the family of the individual who died due to their negligence. The outcome of a criminal case does not necessarily have any bearing on the outcome of the other.
Under Florida law, only surviving blood relatives and dependents of the deceased, such as their spouse, children, or parents, may collect benefits from a wrongful death lawsuit. And importantly, only a court-approved representative of the deceased’s estate has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
This representative has a legal duty to manage the deceased’s final affairs by
- validating their will
- accounting for assets
- and paying off any creditors of the estate.
- They are also responsible for distributing assets from the estate and compensation from any wrongful death claims to surviving family members.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
When you file a wrongful death claim in Lakeland, you must be able to demonstrate the following key elements to prove that the other party should be financially liable:
- The at-fault party had a responsibility to avoid injuring your loved one. Examples include a motorist’s responsibility to drive safely and avoid causing a car accident or a doctor’s duty to provide a certain standard of care to a patient.
- The responsible party failed to uphold their duty. You would need to prove that the at-fault party breached their duty to reasonably avoid harming your relative. A drunk driver or doctor who failed to follow proper sterilization procedures disregards their obligation to keep others safe.
- The other party’s negligence directly contributed to the wrongful death. You must be able to demonstrate a link between the defendant’s negligent actions (or failure to act) and the wrongful death.
- The harm can be remedied by awarding damages to the victim. In truth, no money can make up for a lost family member. But under Florida personal injury law, you must establish that monetary compensation is the only way to provide relief for your loss.
Calculating Wrongful Death Damages in Lakeland
Calculating wrongful death damages in Lakeland involves a careful examination of the facts. An experienced attorney from a wrongful death law firm can place an appropriate value on your case and push for maximum compensation for your personal and financial losses.
Damages in a wrongful death case can include money for:
- Medical bills
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of support and services
- Lost income and benefits
- Loss of parental companionship and guidance
Finally, if the court decides the at-fault party in the wrongful death case was egregiously reckless or intentionally malicious, a judge may decide to award punitive damages to the family. These damages are ordered to punish wrongdoers, discourage similar behavior in the future, and compensate the deceased’s victims.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded. A Lakeland wrongful death lawyer can help determine whether they are possible in your case.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Lakeland
Florida’s statute of limitations gives personal representatives just two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death suit. If the representative files the case after the two-year deadline has passed, the court will most likely dismiss the case. This will then leave the surviving family with no opportunity to recover compensation for their loss.
For this reason, it’s critical to contact a wrongful death attorney in Lakeland as soon as possible. Your lawyer will
- calculate the exact timeline for your case
- establish a solid foundation for a wrongful death case
- and file appropriate documents in court
before the statute of limitations expires.
How Our Lakeland Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You
If someone you love died due to someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, you have the right to demand compensation for your family members. Let us help you demand justice and continue the healing process. Call or contact Brooks Law Group today to speak to a wrongful death attorney in a free case review.