Losing a loved one is a distressing ordeal that can leave emotional and financial scars. When the loss is because of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, seeking justice and compensation for your family is essential. At Leon Law Firm, our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers will help guide you through this distressing time and ensure you receive the compensation and support you deserve. Please look at how an experienced wrongful death lawyer from our team can help you pursue the wrongful death compensation you deserve.
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How Our Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You With Your Case
Our experienced team of attorneys at Leon Law Firm is dedicated to providing compassionate legal representation for families affected by wrongful death. We understand the emotional toll this loss can take on a family, and we’re here to help you navigate the legal process. Our services include:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.
- Identifying responsible parties.
- Gathering evidence to support your claim.
- Calculating the damages you may be entitled to.
- Negotiating settlements with insurance companies.
- Representing you in court, if necessary.
Count on a Jacksonville wrongful death attorney from our team to represent you.
Legal Definition of a Wrongful Death
Florida law defines wrongful death as a death due to another person or entity’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. In Florida, wrongful death claims are governed by the Florida Wrongful Death Act, which allows the decedent’s estate and certain surviving family members to seek compensation for their loss. They act as a personal estate representative when they pursue this type of claim.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases can arise from various situations where negligence or intentional misconduct has led to a fatality. We’ll review some of the most common types of wrongful death cases, which include medical malpractice, car accidents, workplace accidents, and defective products.
Medical malpractice happens when healthcare providers neglect to uphold the standard of care, resulting in injury or death. This standard of care is defined as the level of care, skill, and treatment that a reasonably competent healthcare provider would provide under similar circumstances. Medical malpractice wrongful death cases can involve various scenarios, such as:
- Errors in diagnosis: Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a condition can lead to a patient receiving incorrect or delayed treatment, resulting in a fatal outcome.
- Treatment errors: Administering inappropriate treatment or making errors during treatment can cause serious complications or death.
- Medication errors: Incorrectly prescribing or administering medication can lead to severe side effects, overdose, or death.
- Surgical errors: Mistakes made during surgery, such as performing an operation on the wrong body part or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient, can lead to fatal complications.
In medical malpractice cases, it is often necessary to rely on expert testimony from other healthcare professionals to establish the standard of care and whether the defendant’s actions fell below that standard.
Car accidents are the primary cause of wrongful death, and negligent drivers are often responsible for these fatal collisions. Some common examples of negligence in car accidents include:
- Speeding: Driving at excessive speed can significantly increase the risk of causing a fatal accident.
- Driving under the influence: Driving a vehicle while intoxicated impairs a driver’s ability to react and make safe decisions, leading to deadly crashes.
- Distracted driving: Sending text messages, talking on the phone, or engaging in other activities that divert a driver’s attention from the road can cause fatal accidents.
- Reckless driving: Disregarding traffic laws, such as running red lights or failing to yield, can result in life-threatening collisions.
In car accident wrongful death cases, it is crucial to collect evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and accident reconstruction to establish the defendant’s negligence.
Employers have to provide a safe work environment for their employees. Unfortunately, workplace accidents can still occur, leading to wrongful death claims. Some common scenarios in workplace wrongful death cases include:
- Insufficient training: Employers must train employees on safety protocols to avoid dangerous situations and fatal accidents.
- Inadequate safety equipment: Employers must provide proper safety equipment, such as harnesses or protective gear, to reduce the risk of injury or death on the job.
- Hazardous working conditions: Employers must address known hazards and maintain a safe work environment. Neglecting to do so can result in fatal accidents.
- Exposure to toxic substances: Workers exposed to harmful chemicals or substances without proper protection can suffer severe health consequences, leading to death.
In workplace wrongful death cases, it is crucial to investigate the employer’s safety policies and procedures and any potential violations of state or federal safety regulations.
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must ensure that the products they produce or sell are safe for consumers. When a defective product causes a fatal injury, it can result in a wrongful death claim. Defective product wrongful death cases can involve various types of products, such as:
- Faulty automotive parts: Defective brakes, airbags, or other vehicle components can cause accidents or exacerbate the severity of a crash, leading to fatalities.
- Dangerous pharmaceuticals: Some medications may have harmful side effects or interact negatively with other drugs, causing life-threatening complications or death.
- Defective medical devices: Medical devices that malfunction or fail can cause severe harm to patients, resulting in fatal outcomes.
- Unsafe consumer products: Everyday items, such as toys, appliances, or electronics, can pose a risk if poorly designed, manufactured, or labeled, leading to fatal injuries.
In defective product wrongful death cases, it is essential to establish that the product was faulty and that the defect directly caused the death. This often requires expert testimony from engineers, product safety specialists, or other experts in the relevant field.
Determining which party or parties are responsible for the defect is also important. This can include the product’s manufacturer, the company that designed it, the distributor, or the retailer that sold it. In some cases, multiple parties may share liability for the wrongful death.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
When we can no longer care for our loved ones, we often rely on nursing homes to provide them with the care and compassion they deserve. Sadly, there are situations where nursing homes fall short, and this could result in nursing home neglect or abuse.
Neglect arises when nursing homes fail to provide residents with the medical care, food, hygiene, and general compassion residents deserve. There are even situations where abuse can take place. Common examples of nursing home abuse include physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. Sometimes, this neglect or abuse could even contribute to someone’s death.
If you suspect your loved one has experienced nursing home neglect or abuse, and it has resulted in a wrongful death case, contact us today for a case consultation.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove the following elements of negligence:
You must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. A duty of care is a legal obligation to act in a reasonably safe and responsible manner to avoid causing harm to others. The nature and scope of this duty can vary depending on the relationship between the parties and the circumstances of the case. For example:
- A doctor has to provide their patient with a certain standard of care, considering their medical condition and the accepted practices in the medical community.
- A driver must follow traffic laws, be attentive to road conditions, and operate their vehicle safely to avoid accidents.
- A property owner must maintain their premises reasonably safe and warn visitors of any known hazards.
You must demonstrate that the defendant violated their duty of care by taking or omitting a specific action. This means proving that the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care that a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation. Examples of a breach of duty can include:
- A surgeon performing a procedure while intoxicated results in a fatal error.
- A driver texting while driving causes a deadly collision.
- An employer is not providing proper safety equipment leading to a fatal workplace accident.
Your attorney may need to gather evidence such as medical records, police reports, witness statements, and expert testimony to prove a breach of duty,
You must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the death of your loved one by establishing a clear link between the defendant’s actions (or inactions) and the fatal injury or illness. It is not enough to show that the defendant acted negligently. You must also demonstrate that their negligence was the proximate cause of the death.
Causation can be one of the most challenging elements to prove in a wrongful death case, as it often requires expert testimony and a thorough analysis of the facts and circumstances. Your attorney may need to consult medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, or other professionals to establish causation.
You must show that your family has suffered damages due to the wrongful death. Damages in a wrongful death case can be either economic or non-economic. Economic damages indemnify financial losses, such as:
- Medical expenses incurred during the deceased’s final illness or injury.
- Funeral and burial costs.
- The loss of income and financial support that the deceased would have provided their family.
The purpose of non-economic damages is to repay for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by surviving family members, including:
- Loss of companionship, love, and support from the deceased.
- Mental anguish and emotional distress caused by the loss.
To prove damages, your attorney may need to gather documentation such as medical bills, funeral expenses, wage statements, and expert opinions on future earnings. Additionally, they may present evidence of the emotional impact of the loss on surviving family members through personal statements or testimony.
People Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case to Court in Jacksonville, FL
In Florida, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This representative acts on behalf of the estate and any surviving family members who are eligible to receive compensation, including:
- Parents; and
- Siblings, if they were financially dependent on the deceased.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit involves the following steps:
- Retain an experienced wrongful death attorney.
- Investigate the circumstances of the death and gather evidence to support your claim.
- Identify the responsible parties and notify them of your desire to pursue a wrongful death claim.
- File the necessary legal documents, including the complaint, with the appropriate court.
- Engage in the discovery process to gather additional evidence and information from the opposing party.
- Negotiate with the defendant or their insurance company for a fair settlement.
- If a settlement cannot be reached, proceed to trial and present your case to a jury.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
The statute of limitations in Florida for filing a wrongful death claim is typically two years from the date of death. It’s imperative to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed within this time frame.
Types of Damages That May Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Economic damages compensate for the financial losses resulting from the wrongful death, such as:
- Medical expenses related to the deceased’s final illness or injury;
- Funeral and burial costs; and
- Loss of income and financial support that the deceased would have provided.
Non-economic damages provide compensation for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by surviving family members, including:
- Loss of companionship, love, and support; and
- Mental anguish and emotional distress.
Contact Our Experienced and Knowledgeable Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyer at Leon Law Firm for an Initial Case Consultation
At Leon Law Firm, we understand the immense emotional and financial burdens faced by families who have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence. Our Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys are here to provide compassionate, skilled legal representation to help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact us today or visit our website to schedule a , confidential case consultation.