Experienced Wrongful Death Representation For Grieving Florida Families
If you have lost a loved one in a car crash or other fatal incident, you have my sincere sympathy. I know that nothing can ever replace the person you have lost. I also understand that while this is a permanent loss, there are steps you can take that may bring you some sense of control and closure. This is especially true when the cause of your loss was the negligent or reckless actions of another person, business or organization.
As a Florida personal injury attorney, part of my practice at George C. Kezemides, P.A., is dedicated to helping clients seek justice and compensation in wrongful death litigation. When you contact my firm, I will work with you to establish what happened and ensure that the party or business responsible for your loss is recognized and held accountable.
The Basics Of A Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim involves proving that the other party (which can be a person, hospital, nursing home or a business) is at fault. This means that the other party was negligent and did not do what a reasonable person would have. It also means that it can be shown that their action caused the death and that there were damages (costs).
The liable party’s insurance company is the one who pays in a wrongful death case. If the person who caused the death does not have insurance, then it’s possible to sue that person directly. There are different “damages” that you can sue for, the most common being medical bills and funeral expenses. Surviving family members, including the victim’s spouse, can file a wrongful death claim. The estate of the deceased person can also file a claim. In Florida, you have two years from the date of death to file a claim.
Common Fatal Scenarios Leading To Fatal Accident Lawsuits
There are many fatal events that can be grounds for a wrongful death case. Here are some of the types of cases I can assist with:
- Car crashes and motor vehicle collisions involving trucks, motorcycles, bicyclists and pedestrians
- Aviation accidents involving planes, sea and float planes, and hot air balloons
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
As a general rule, any accident or injury scenario that would warrant a personal injury claim could also be the basis of a wrongful death suit.
Answers To Common Questions About Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Below, I’ve answered some questions I regularly receive from prospective clients.
What are the differences between a personal injury claim and a wrongful death claim?
As mentioned above, they often stem from the same types of scenarios. The two main differences are the degree of harm (death instead of injury) and who serves as the plaintiff. In a personal injury suit, the victim would be the plaintiff. Because that is not possible in a wrongful death claim, a family member of the victim will often sue on their behalf.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit if my loved one’s death was caused by a criminal act?
Yes, you can. Many wrongful death cases stem from acts of negligence that are not criminal in nature. However, families of victims can sue for deaths stemming from illegal actions like drunk driving or intentional assault/homicide.
The at-fault party in these cases can and usually will face criminal prosecution. Regardless of the outcome of their criminal case, however, you can pursue separate litigation in the civil justice system, where the standard of proof is different. A criminal conviction requires proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” whereas civil liability is based on “preponderance of the evidence.”
What can I seek compensation for in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Common damages sought and awarded in wrongful death claims include:
- Compensation for funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering of the victim prior to their death
- Medical expenses leading up to the death
- Lost wages and lifetime earnings
- Mental pain and anguish of surviving family members
- Loss of companionship, love, support and household services
The specific damages you can claim will depend on a number of factors, including the details of the death and the victim’s role within the family. For instance, the damages would be different if the family lost an income-earning adult than they would be if they had lost a child. Both are highly tragic, but they have differing economic implications, which must be considered in a lawsuit.
Why should I hire an attorney rather than just taking an insurance company’s settlement offer?
Not all wrongful death scenarios involve an insured person or piece of property. Therefore, there may be no settlement offer. Even if there is an offer, however, you should know that insurance companies are not interested in “making things right.” They want to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. Whatever offer they make will likely be far less than what you need and deserve. As your attorney, I will work diligently to assess and calculate your losses and seek maximum compensation on behalf of your family.
Let’s Discuss Your Options In A Free Consultation
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from scheduling a consultation at George C. Kezemides, P.A.. The meeting is always free. You will not pay lawyer’s fees unless I take your case and win a settlement (out of court) or a verdict (in court) on your behalf. Call 727-490-9303 or connect with me via my contact form. Based in Tarpon Springs, I help injured people and take on wrongful death cases for clients throughout the entire Tampa Bay metro area. I am responsive and typically respond to any inquiry within 24 hours.