Winter Haven Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one to the result of another negligence is a tragedy.
Whenever negligent conduct costs a person his or her life, surviving family members have the right to seek damages which can cover the victim’s final medical bills, burial expenses, and more.
However, claiming compensation from the at-fault party is no simple matter. You need a seasoned Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer who knows the law and what it takes to build a compelling case. JustCallMoe is here for you and the rest of your family after a loved one’s unexpected passing.
What Does Our Wrongful Death Lawyer Do On Your Behalf?
Understanding Florida’s wrongful death statutes is a basic requirement for any attorney who would handle your case. JustCallMoe goes much further and takes a proactive approach to representing clients in wrongful death lawsuits.
Wrongful death investigation
It starts with thoroughly investigating the circumstances that led to the victim’s death. While we may use the results of other investigations, such as those made by law enforcement, we conduct our own examination of the facts. This includes speaking with witnesses, examining surveillance footage and pictures, and reviewing certain records (e.g. truck driver logs in the event of a fatal trucking accident).
This step will uncover vital evidence and determine who may have been responsible for the death.
We also consult expert witnesses who can provide useful testimony on various topics. An accident reconstructionist, for example, can explain in detail how a deadly car crash happened and how the evidence points to the driver’s negligence. Meanwhile, a financial expert witness can estimate the potential earnings the victim would have received but for his or her untimely death. This information will form part of the monetary damages being sought.
Settlement or lawsuit filing
Next, we will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company and lawyers on your behalf.
You and your family deserve compensation, but you also deserve the peace of not having to deal with insurance adjusters and lawyers. We handle this with the goal of reaching a fair settlement out of court.
If the insurers and their attorneys won’t negotiate in good faith, our Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer will take your case to trial and demand the maximum damages available.
Types of Fatal Accident Cases We Handle
Our law firm represents surviving family members in a multitude of wrongful death cases in Winter Haven, such as:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Hit and run accidents
- Slips and falls
- Dog maulings
- Bus accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the process can be complicated. Having a knowledgeable Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer will assist in doing so.
These claims must be filed by the personal representative of the decedent victim’s estate, on behalf of surviving family members. These family members are typically surviving spouses, children, and parents of the deceased, although the list can be broadened in some cases.
The estate’s personal representative is usually named in a last will and testament or he or she may be appointed by the court. Although this individual files the claim, the surviving relatives are the ones who receive the compensation.
Who May Be Liable?
One of the key services that a Winter Haven wrongful death attorney provides is determining which party or parties may be held liable. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed against a number of individuals and entities, depending on the circumstances.
Some examples include:
- The driver of a car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle
- The driver’s employer if he or she was acting within the scope of employment when the accident happened
- A bar or restaurant that sold alcohol to someone it knew to be an alcoholic, who then got into a fatal drunk driving wreck
- The manufacturer of a dangerous consumer product
- The property owner in the event of a slip and fall or another death caused by negligent property conditions
- The owner of a dog or other dangerous animal
Filing against multiple parties increases the chances of receiving more compensation for your family’s losses. For instance, a negligent driver may not have many financial resources. If the driver was working for his or her employer when the fatal wreck occurred, the employer (who generally has more ability to pay higher damages) could be ordered to pay.
Can a Criminal and Wrongful Death Civil Case Happen at the Same Time?
Many wrongful death claims arise out of criminal actions. A fatal drunk driving accident is one example. However, wrongful death claims differ from criminal cases in several ways.
To begin with, wrongful death lawsuits are brought in civil court by a private party (the personal representative) while criminal cases are pursued by the government.
Next, the objective is different. Criminal cases intend to punish the defendant, usually with jail time; a wrongful death claim is filed to win monetary compensation.
Also, the standard of proof, which is quite high in a criminal case, is significantly lower in a civil case.
Criminal and civil cases can be pursued at the same time, but often, an attorney will want to wait to see what evidence comes out of the criminal case.
For instance, using the drunk driving example, the criminal case may result in the driver going to jail. But the trial may reveal that the driver’s employer failed to properly screen the employee. The victim’s family may then use this evidence to pursue a wrongful death case against the employer.
Your Winter Haven wrongful death lawyer will advise you on timing the civil case with respect to the criminal matter.
What Needs to Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?
There are four elements that the victim’s surviving family members must prove. They are:
- Duty of care: The at-fault party must have owed a duty of care to the deceased victim. This means the party had an obligation to act with reasonable care under the circumstances.
- Breach: A breach happens when a party engages in some act of negligent conduct, or fails to do something in a way that amounts to negligence. Drunk driving is an example.
- Causation: The breach must have directly caused the death of the victim. Sometimes causation can be contested if multiple defendants are involved.
- Damages: Finally, the victim will argue that the death caused negative financial effects. Expert witnesses help establish the amount and nature of damages.
Potential Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
While an attorney cannot guarantee the damages you may receive in your wrongful death case, victims’ families can generally seek the following:
- The victim’s final medical bills incurred prior to their death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost income, bonuses, and other compensation the victim one would have earned
- Lost services the deceased victim can no longer provide
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased victim
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium (loss of the deceased victim’s emotional support and companionship)
- Punitive damages in some cases, which punish especially negligent behavior
Contact Our Winter Haven Wrongful Death Attorney
Winning the compensation that you and your family deserve starts with hiring the right wrongful death lawyer. Learn why so many clients trust the dedicated legal counsel of JustCallMoe. To learn more about pursuing a wrongful death claim, give our team a call at (866) 225-5663 today.
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