The unexpected loss of a loved one is both emotionally and financially devastating for surviving family members. You not only have to suffer the emotional trauma that comes with grief, but you also have to pay various expenses resulting from the accident and the death. You shouldn’t have to bear this burden alone. A Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer can provide compassionate support and aggressive legal representation to help recover damages and hold negligent parties accountable.
That’s why Steinger, Greene & Feiner is here to help. We promise to hold the negligent party accountable for the harm their actions caused. We’ll seek justice for your loved one and compensation to help ease the financial burden of their loss. As Jacksonville’s trusted wrongful death law firm, you can count on us to be there for you every step of the way.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida
What a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Is
A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil suit. One way to know whether wrongful death has taken place is if the deceased person could have filed a personal injury claim if the death had not occurred. The plaintiff—typically a surviving family member of the deceased—must prove that the defendant—the individual who caused the accident that resulted in the wrongful death—acted negligently or recklessly, breaching their duty of care to the deceased.
Wrongful Death Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims
While wrongful death claims and personal injury claims are similar, they differ in a few key ways.
- Who files the claim: In a personal injury case, the person who was injured files the claim on their own behalf. In a wrongful death case, the representative of the deceased person’s estate files the claim on behalf of surviving family members and the estate.
- Who the claim can be filed against: In a wrongful death case, if the individual who caused the death faces criminal charges from the state of Florida, they cannot also face wrongful death charges. In this case, an entity involved in the death may face the wrongful death charge.
- What damages are sought: In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff seeks financial compensation for the damages they suffered directly. In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff seeks financial compensation for the damages they suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.
The negligence of the defendant must be established for the plaintiff to seek compensation. The following criteria must be met to prove negligence.
- Duty: The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- Breach: The defendant breached the duty of care
- Causation: The defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered a form of identifiable harm (physical, financial, etc.)
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
While a wrongful death can occur for various reasons, these are the most common causes.
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Motorcycle accident
- Work accidents
- Truck accidents
- Boat accidents
How a Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
While handling a wrongful death claim on your own is possible, seeking the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney will simplify the process and increase your chances of securing compensation for the death of your loved one. Here are the key ways in which a Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer can help you.
- Determine whether you have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit and if you’re entitled to damages
- Explain your legal options for pursuing justice and seeking compensation for damages
- Investigate the accident that caused the wrongful death and establish fault
- Collect evidence and build a strong case
- Calculate your losses to determine the amount of damages caused by the accident, which will strengthen your case during the settlement process and any litigation
- Ensure you meet all deadlines set by the state to file your claim, submit paperwork, and make court appearances, if necessary
- Negotiate with insurance companies and medical providers
Wrongful Death FAQs
1. What is considered a wrongful death in Florida?
Just like the name implies, a wrongful death is a death caused by the wrongful act of an individual or entity. The wrongful act can be anything from negligence or recklessness to a breached contract. If the deceased person could have filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault party had the death not occurred, the grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit exist.
2. Who is qualified to file a wrongful death claim in Florida?
The personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate is qualified to file a wrongful death claim in the state of Florida. This representative files a wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members, which can include:
- A spouse
- Under-age children
- A parent
- Other blood relatives or adopted siblings who were dependents of the deceased
For example, a surviving spouse of the deceased can seek compensation for the loss of support, love, companionship, and routine services that the deceased previously provided. A surviving under-age child of the deceased can seek compensation for the loss of guidance, affection, financial support, and the cost of routine services formerly provided by the deceased.
The estate of the deceased can also seek compensation for the loss of wealth that the deceased person would have earned had the wrongful death not occurred.
3. What kind of compensation can I expect to receive from my wrongful death suit?
While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, financial compensation can help protect the financial future of surviving family members—particularly a spouse, child, or elderly parent. Compensation can help cover the cost of:
- Medical bills accrued between the accident and the death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages and loss of future earnings
- Loss of inheritance
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of care or guidance
4. When should I consult an attorney to file a wrongful death claim?
We strongly recommend consulting an attorney as soon as possible after a wrongful death has occurred. Doing so will ensure your claim is filed within the statute of limitations and that you know your legal options moving forward.
5. What makes Steinger, Greene & Feiner the right choice as my wrongful death attorney?
When it comes to seeking justice and compensation for wrongful death, it’s not just about choosing an attorney to handle your case. It’s about choosing the right attorney. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our lawyers have what it takes to win.
With years of experience handling wrongful death cases and a track record of winning them, we’re the experts you can trust to achieve the justice your loved one deserves and the compensation you need to ease the burden of their loss.
We will handle all aspects of your case, including but not limited to:
- Gathering evidence
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Filing paperwork
- Meeting deadlines
- Representing you in court
We also charge no upfront fees. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you don’t have to pay us until we win your case.
6. How long will it take to settle my wrongful death case?
Since every wrongful death case is different, no two cases take the same time to settle. Factors that impact settlement length include how long it takes to gather evidence, how many surviving family members are involved, and how experienced your attorney is. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our Jacksonville lawyers have the skills and experience required to handle your wrongful death case as efficiently as possible. We will secure the compensation you need when you need it.
7. How long do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
Florida’s statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. But don’t wait until the last minute to file a lawsuit. The sooner you file the lawsuit, the sooner you will achieve justice for your loved one and secure compensation.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. Contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner today to ensure you receive maximum financial compensation for the loss of your loved one. As your trusted legal advocates, we’ll handle every aspect of your wrongful death lawsuit with precision and care.
Start by contacting us for a free case evaluation. This is a time for you to discuss your case with a skilled attorney and outline a plan for the next steps. We’re ready to take on your case and fight for your rights.