Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Attorney
Taking the life of another, either intentionally or through an act of negligence, is a serious crime in Fort Lauderdale. Many people don’t realize that someone’s death could result in criminal and civil charges against the offender. Felony criminal charges and prison sentences can await those who take lives intentionally. Civil penalties, however, may also await convicted offenders. It is possible for someone’s death to result in no criminal charges but significant civil penalties.
Seek Legal Help From a Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Lawyer
After the death of a loved one from another’s negligence, speak with a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorney about your options. While you take time to grieve, trust a professional with the necessary skills and experience to help you with the legal aspect of your case. After the death of a beloved spouse, child, or other family member, you need compassionate and professional legal help. You may have the right to a major settlement for your losses. A lawsuit won’t change the past, but it can be a big help in securing your future or the future of the children who may have lost a parent. Call our office today for expert legal advice and a free, no obligation consultation.
Understanding a Wrongful Death Case
Compensation may be available to address the loss of household income, funeral expenses and even your emotional suffering. Florida’s statute of limitations provides you just two years in which to take action after an accident. Prompt action typically provides the best opportunity to secure a fair settlement.
We understand how overwhelming this situation can be for the bereaved, and you may have many questions about the legal process. Below, you will find information about your family’s legal options.
What constitutes a wrongful death?
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act defines wrongful death as a fatality caused by a party’s “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.”
A wrongful death may be caused by an intentional act, a negligent act or a breach of duty. For example, wrongful death may arise when a person intentionally pushes another person down a flight of stairs, a driver exceeds the speed limit or a manufacturer creates a defective product.
Who can recover damages in a wrongful death action in Florida?
Section 768.20 of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act outlines the eligible parties in a wrongful death action. The Act specifies that the deceased victim’s personal representative must bring about the action. This person recovers damages on behalf of the victim’s survivors. This may include:
- minor children;
- parents; and
- blood relatives or adoptive siblings (when these parties were dependent on the deceased victim).
Children born out of wedlock may claim damages, provided the deceased was financially supportive of the child in some manner.
What must I prove in a wrongful death action?
You must prove the elements of a wrongful death. This means demonstrating:
- the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased;
- the defendant committed an act that was negligent, wrongful, intentional or a breach of a conduct;
- the defendant’s conduct was the direct cause of injury or death; and
- the defendant’s actions would have entitled the deceased to bring about an injury lawsuit for damages, had he or she not passed away.
You must provide substantial evidence to support your claim and draw a clear connection between the defendant’s actions and your loved one’s death.
What damages are available in a Florida wrongful death action?
Section 768.21 of the Florida Wrongful Death Act outlines the damages available in a wrongful death claim. Damages include:
- loss of household income (including loss of future earnings);
- loss of companionship and protection;
- mental pain and anguish;
- loss of parental guidance and companionship;
- medical expenses accrued prior to death; and
- funeral costs.
Florida Negligence Laws
Fort Lauderdale plaintiffs seeking retribution for loved ones’ wrongful deaths must abide by Florida’s laws. The state sets time limits and other restrictions for filing. There are also rules regarding what damages the plaintiff may recover and how to go about filing in Fort Lauderdale. Speaking with a wrongful death attorney at Chalik & Chalik can give you more in-depth information about wrongful death claims. Here’s an overview of the most pressing laws:
- Grounds for filing. Florida Statute Section 768.19 explains that wrongful death is a death that the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” another causes. If the deceased person could have brought a personal injury lawsuit had he/she survived the accident, one likely has grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Statute of limitations. In Florida, a person typically has two years from the date of the death to file a claim. However, the courts may postpone this deadline in specific circumstances. An attorney can help you understand your individual time limits for filing.
- Who may file. In Fort Lauderdale, a personal representative of the departed person’s estate must file the wrongful death suit. The representative can file the claim on behalf of the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, blood relatives, or adoptive siblings.
- Types of damages. A successful wrongful death suit can lead to compensation for the decedent’s lost support and services, companionship, protection, and guidance. The courts may also grant compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering, the family’s medical bills and funeral costs, and lost income or inheritance.
Retaining a wrongful death lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can make the filing process significantly easier for all involved. After a life cut short, the family members left behind have been through enough stress and trauma. Taking on a wrongful death claim can feel like too much during this time of grief. The right attorneys can make the legal process much easier. At Chalik & Chalik, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers are here to help.
“I just wanted to extend my gratitude to Wally & Chalik & Chalik for all their help. She has been amazing and very fast to respond to my emails and questions, and I much appreciate her patience with me. I will definitely be recommending your firm.” -Nissan Benjamin