Jacksonville, Florida, is one of the biggest and most populous cities in both Florida and the United States, filled with fun things to do and exciting places to dine, drink, and play. However, just like any big city, Jacksonville is also rife with opportunities for wrongful deaths.
Wrongful deaths can occur for many reasons, but mainly from car crashes or other serious accidents. Wrongful deaths are terrible tragedies, which is why anyone who suffers from the wrongful death of a loved one needs support from a Jacksonville wrongful death lawyer.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers have helped our Jacksonville clients gain millions in compensation for wrongful death claims. If you are grieving after the death of a loved one and need help getting the justice you deserve, reach out to our Jacksonville wrongful death lawyers for a free consultation today.
Jacksonville and Florida Wrongful Death Statistics
Wrongful death is defined as “The taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons.” This definition indicates a death that occurs not because of natural causes or murder, but because of someone’s bad decisions and negligent care.
For example, in a car accident, a drunk driver may be accused of causing a wrongful death because they chose to neglect their responsibility to others on the road and drive in unsafe conditions.
Wrongful death cases occur quite often in Jacksonville and surrounding Florida cities. In Florida, about 3,000 people die each year from car accidents. Over 500 people die in motorcycle accidents each year.
Workplace injuries, which can be claimed as wrongful death cases if a workplace hazard leads to death, also accounted for many deaths in Florida in the last few years. Over 100 people died in transportation accidents, while nearly 70 people died from slips, trips, or falls in the workplace. Exposure to harmful substances accounted for around 40 deaths in Florida by the most recent data.
Wrongful deaths are also commonly caused by medical malpractice incidents, in which a medical provider or facility fails to properly care for your loved one during a medical procedure of some kind. These kinds of wrongful death cases often occur during surgeries, or due to hospital-borne infections, for example.
Wrongful death accidents are far too common in Jacksonville, but you can find help. If you’ve suffered from a loved one’s horrifying death because of someone else’s negligent actions, simply reach out to a wrongful death lawyer for help in getting started with your case.
How Does a Jacksonville Wrongful Death Case Work?
There are several important factors to consider when making a Jacksonville wrongful death claim. First, you will need to get in touch with a wrongful death lawyer. Your wrongful death lawyer will help you with each of the next steps until you’ve built a strong case.
To get started, you will need to prove a few main criteria regarding your case. You will have to prove that:
- The person who caused the death owed your deceased loved one a duty of care. For example, every driver owes other drivers and passengers on the road the duty to protect them from accidents if possible.
- The responsible party in the accident neglected their duty of care.
- The responsible party’s negligence led to the wrongful death of your loved one.
- Your loved one’s death led to serious suffering for your loved one, you, and other family members. You will need to gather evidence showing how much you lost personally, financially, and otherwise because of your loved one’s death.
Not everyone can make a wrongful death claim. In Florida, as in most states, the parents, spouses, or children of the deceased may bring wrongful death claims. If, for some reason, no family member files a claim (for example, if the deceased was elderly and no one lost financial or personal support from the death), the deceased’s estate can file a claim to recover financial compensation.
The Damages That You Can Claim in a Wrongful Death Case
Florida law allows the family of the deceased to recover several damages from a wrongful death claim. The family members of a deceased person can recover compensation for both economic and non-economic losses in the death of a loved one.
According to Florida Statute 768.21, the damages you can recover after a wrongful death include:
- Lost support and services. These categories cover things such as the financial support a parent or spouse may provide to their families and other services they may offer (childcare, homecare, yard care, care of elderly family members, etc.). It could include the potential income that the deceased would have provided throughout their life had they lived.
- Lost companionship with your loved one.
- Lost protection from your loved one.
- Mental pain and suffering that you and your loved ones suffer after the death.
- Pain and suffering that your loved one endured before their death.
- Medical expenses for any end-of-life care your loved one may have had in their last days.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
If a family member does not file a claim for these damages, the representative of the deceased person’s estate can bring a claim for financial losses, such as the potential growth of the financial estate and lost earnings. However, there must be enough financial support left to provide for the decedent’s family members.
In some situations, you may also be able to recover punitive damages against the responsible party. Punitive damages can apply if a person’s willful or wanton acts killed your loved one.
The Process of a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim can take a long time. Start your claim as soon as possible, though, because in Florida you only have two years to file a wrongful death claim (unless the claim is against the government or involves murder).
The first thing you should do after the death of your loved one is to reach out to a wrongful death lawyer.
Next, hold on to any evidence of the wrongful death including:
- Medical bills and records
- Photographs or videos relating to the circumstances of the accident
- Other expenses or lost sources of income
Your attorney can help you find the evidence you need.
Once you have some evidence on hand, here is the process of a wrongful death claim.
- Pre-litigation. Your attorney will help you gather all the evidence surrounding your claim and file a complaint against the accused person or the defendant. Lawyers may hire experts to help determine the validity of a claim, if necessary.
- Filing a claim. Your attorney will write up a complaint listing the circumstances of the case, the evidence you have gathered, and the amount of compensation you are seeking from those who wronged you.
- Responses. The defendant has a certain time in which to accept your complaint or request its denial.
- Negotiations. Attorneys on both sides of the case will negotiate to attempt a complete and fair settlement that satisfies both parties.
- Litigation. If you can’t settle, the case may move on to litigation. First, attorneys will gather all relevant evidence from one another, including documents like medical records, death certificates, bills, and expenses, etc. They will send out interrogatories, or written questionnaires, to each party to gather personal and accident-related information. They will then take depositions, or verbal statements, from involved parties and witnesses.
- Trial. After gathering all of the evidence, lawyers will go to court and debate the case in front of a judge and jury. Then, the judge and jury will decide fault and how much (if any) compensation the plaintiffs deserve.
As you can see, the process of a wrongful death case can take quite a long time. To gather the necessary evidence and prepare a solid case, your lawyers will need time. The best thing you can do is talk to a lawyer as soon as possible and keep track of all evidence you have.
Who Can I Hold Responsible for a Wrongful Death In Florida?
In Florida, anyone who causes wrongful death can face responsibility. If, for example, two drivers contributed to the cause of an accident, they can both be held responsible. If the case occurred in a medical facility, you can hold the medical provider responsible if they neglected to follow proper procedures or in some other way contributed to the death.
Can I File a Criminal Wrongful Death Claim?
In many wrongful death cases, the person responsible for the death could be held accountable as a criminal. However, the state presses criminal cases because crime is an action against the state. As an individual, you will file a civil claim to seek the compensation you deserve. The state may pursue a case to punish the accused person for any crimes they committed.
You can, however, include some punitive damages in your claim. If the act that led to your loved one’s death was not technically a crime, you can still punish the responsible party in some manner according to the discretion of the court.
Do I Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer to Pursue My Claim?
Many people struggle to hire wrongful death lawyers. They may fear that the lawyer will cost too much or will be unable to help them find the justice they seek. However, if you want to pursue a strong wrongful death claim, you should hire a wrongful death attorney for several reasons.
For one thing, most cases settle for much higher amounts when a lawyer is involved in the process. Many who suffer after a wrongful death want to take the first settlement offered to them to end the process. However, your first offer will likely be much lower than you actually deserve. Lawyers have enough experience working with wrongful death claims to know how much you deserve and ensure that you get it.
In addition, recovering from your grief and finding your way back to health can be a challenging and stressful process. You don’t want to have to deal with stressful negotiations with insurance companies while you’re seeking to recover from grief and find a way back to living life. Your attorneys can deal with serious and difficult negotiations in your stead. They can also help you find financial support and guidance to help you get the money you need to stay afloat while you seek compensation.
Lawyers also have expertise in dealing with complicated evidence and speaking with experts who can help you prove your claims.
In the end, a lawyer will help you build a stronger and more successful case than you could do alone. If you are suffering after a wrongful death claim, reach out to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Jacksonville Wrongful Death Lawyers At Sibley Dolman and Sibley Dolman & Gipe
Our lawyers at Sibley Dolman have decades of experience in pursuing wrongful death claims. We seek to bring justice to each of our clients by pursuing the highest compensation possible. We know that dealing with a wrongful death and all the grief that follows is difficult. We know that no compensation can replace your loved one’s life. But we do everything we can to help you find the healing you need financially and emotionally.
We have helped our clients gain millions in compensation for accidents that aren’t their fault. We know that Jacksonville is one of the greatest cities in Florida, but we also know that there is no way to avoid all accidents. If you are suffering after the death of your loved one and need help getting back to life, reach out to our lawyers for a free consultation today.
With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at (904) 441-6903, or you can write to us using our online contact page.
12574 Flagler Center Blvd.;
Jacksonville, FL 32258
Phone: (904) 441-6903
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