Wrongful Death Settlements in Florida
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Wrongful Death Settlements in Florida
Losing a loved one can create a gaping hole in your life that can never be refilled. Immense grief can take a lifetime to overcome and in many cases, survivors can develop signs of depression and other debilitating emotional issues. When you lose a loved one due to the negligence of another party, the incredible grief and sadness are compounded by intense anger and resentment, among several other types of emotionally stressful feelings. You and other family members believe the party that committed the act or acts of negligence that caused the death of a loved one should answer for their irresponsibility.
Fortunately, the American judicial system allows aggrieved members of a family who suffer the loss of a loved one as the result of negligence to file a wrongful death lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. With the help of an experienced attorney who specializes in litigating wrongful death cases, you and your family might receive compensation not only to pay tangible expenses such as the costs associated with burial and medical expenses—but also the costs associated with non-economic damages that include pain and suffering. You and your family might also qualify to receive punitive damages as ordered by the judge overseeing your case.
Although the litigation process can help you recover from financial losses, as well as the pain and suffering generated by losing a loved one, the best course of action might be to negotiate a settlement with the other party. Wrongful death settlements in Florida typically exceed the value of the compensation awarded for personal injury cases that do not result in a fatality. A wrongful death lawyer conducts a detailed investigation to determine whether another party should assume legal liability for causing the death of a loved one.
Since 1988, the personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan have represented clients that lost a loved one as the result of negligence committed by another party. We have recovered more than $15 billion in compensation for our clients through favorable verdicts and negotiated settlements. We encourage you to take a little time to review the verdicts and settlements we have achieved for our clients over the past 35-plus years.
We also encourage you to learn more about wrongful death settlements in Florida by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.
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Why Should I Accept a Wrongful Death Settlement?
You might be thinking, “Why should I agree to negotiate a settlement when I can receive more compensation through a favorable verdict issued by a civil court judge?” Although wrongful death verdicts usually are worth more than negotiated settlements, there is no guarantee that the judge hearing your lawsuit rules in your favor or agrees to award you the amount of money that you seek. Another reason to negotiate a settlement is that civil trials, especially those involving wrongful death cases, often take months if not a couple of years to resolve. The time-consuming legal process can leave you feeling worse off emotionally than if you file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Moreover, you also have to consider the cost of litigation, as well as a considerable delay in you receiving just compensation.
Then, you might have to deal with the legal principle of comparative negligence, which Florida refers to in cases involving wrongful death. Comparative negligence means your loved one might have to assume some of the legal liability for causing the conditions that led to a fatality. Let’s say your loved one died as the result of a car accident. The other party committed an act of negligence by running a red light. However, your loved one was distracted at the time of the accident by replying to a text message. The distraction prevented your loved one from noticing the other driver entering the intersection. If the judge hearing your case awards you $100,000, yet assigns your loved one 20 percent of the fault for causing the vehicle collision, then your net financial award decreases to $80,000.
When your personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan negotiates a settlement, the comparative negligence principle does not factor into calculating a fair value for compensation.
How Does My Attorney Negotiate Wrongful Death Settlements in Florida?
Negotiating a favorable settlement can happen at any point during the litigation process, although it occurs most often during the discovery phase. The discovery phase of the litigation process is the point when both parties share information such as physical evidence and the accounts provided by witnesses.
Calculate a Reasonable Value for Compensation
One of the most important reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan is to calculate a reasonable value for compensation. Your attorney adds up tangible expenses like medical and funeral bills, as well as comes up with a fair value for pain and suffering. The value attached to pain and suffering is not easy to calculate, but your attorney from Morgan and Morgan uses a formula that factors in the value of economic damages.
One important note: If you decide to accept a settlement, the value of your compensation does not include punitive damages. Only a civil court judge can award punitive damages, which for wrongful death cases frequently exceed the combined value of economic and non-economic damages.
Send the Other Party a Demand Letter
A demand letter represents the official legal document that notifies the other party that you plan to take legal action that seeks monetary damages. Your attorney submits a value for compensation, as well as describes how you calculated a reasonable value for compensation. In addition, a demand letter should include a list of the physical evidence gathered at the scene of the wrongful death incident.
Sending the demand letter via certified mail ensures the other party receives it in a timely manner.
Negotiations technically start with the demand letter because your personal injury lawyer from Morgan and Morgan submits an initial offer for compensation. The other party can either accept or reject the initial offer. If the other party rejects the initial offer, you might receive a counteroffer or a certified letter letting you know the other party is ready to defend all charges of negligence during a civil trial hearing.
Several rounds of counteroffers can follow the initial offer until both parties reach a settlement or decide to take the case to the trial phase of the litigation process.
What Are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
The personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan handle a wide variety of wrongful death cases that involve different causes. However, our more than three decades of experience have allowed us to determine the four most common types of wrongful death cases.
Florida reports more than 1,100 car accidents a day, which adds up to nearly 403,000 reported annual vehicle collisions. Although a majority of car accidents are simply accidents, a substantial number of auto crashes involve some type of negligence that causes at least one fatality. Distractions, reckless driving, and driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol represent the three most cited reasons for causing fatal vehicle collisions. Reckless driving, such as speeding and failing to yield, is considered the most common contributor to fatal car accidents.
Workers in the healthcare industry assume a duty of care to prevent patients from sustaining injuries or developing illnesses. However, the healthcare industry is responsible for a significant number of fatalities for several possible reasons. Surgical errors can place a patient in a life-threatening medical condition. Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong doses of medication can lead to the death of a patient. Other common reasons for deadly medical malpractice cases include misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose a medical condition accurately.
As the retirement capital of the United States, Florida always ranks near the top of the list for the number of elderly residents, as well as the largest percentage of elderly residents. The result of a large elderly population is a correspondingly large number of elder abuse cases. Elderly Florida residents already are highly vulnerable to developing health issues. Facilities that elderly residents call home owe a duty of care to prevent residents from sustaining injuries and developing life-threatening diseases. Unfortunately, far too many elderly care facilities fail to meet the standards connected with the duty of care doctrine.
Manufacturers and retailers owe consumers a duty of care to offer safe products, as well as recall defective products promptly. Nonetheless, product liability cases represent a large percentage of cases litigated by the personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan. From a child choking on a toy to an adult sustaining life-threatening burns because of a defective furnace, a defective product can quickly turn into a deadly product. If a loved one died because of using a defective product, you should act with a sense of urgency by contacting a personal injury lawyer at Morgan and Morgan.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
The personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan cannot negotiate wrongful death lawsuits in Florida unless we file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations. The deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, such as for an elder abuse or medical malpractice case, is four years. However, plaintiffs filing a wrongful death lawsuit have just two years to take legal action. Since wrongful death cases usually involve more complex legal issues than standard personal injury cases, two years represents a short window to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. The clock starts ticking on a wrongful death case on the day when the plaintiff’s loved one passed away.
Because two years is a short period to file a personal injury lawsuit, you should act with a sense of urgency by contacting one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan. If you fail to file a wrongful death lawsuit before the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations established by Florida law, you can expect the court clerk processing your case to remove it from the judicial docket.
To learn more about wrongful death settlements in Florida, schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the accomplished personal injury attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.