You may struggle with grief and financial trouble after losing your loved one and may not know where to turn to hold the liable party accountable. Fortunately, the Melbourne wrongful death attorneys at SKG can help you obtain compensation.
We’ve successfully represented hundreds of families in wrongful death lawsuits against powerful people, companies, and governments. Read on to learn how an attorney from our firm can help.
Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Only certain people may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. Spouses filing on behalf of their partner and parents filing on behalf of children have the strongest claims. The representative of the estate may have permission.
To learn if you’re eligible to sue for wrongful death for someone you love, contact our wrongful death lawyers for a free consultation. Even if you’re not the person who has standing to sue, we can identify who does. The person who sues represents all the survivors in their claim for damages and must reveal all potential beneficiaries.
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What Damages Could I Get from a Wrongful Death Claim?
If you win, the court will tell the defendant to pay damages as compensation for what happened. Florida law has two categories of damages in wrongful death claims. Some of the money will get awarded to the victim’s family. The rest will go to the victim’s estate.
The damages paid to the estate include:
- Any lost wages from the date of the injury to the date of death
- The value of any earnings and benefits the decedent would have been expected to save and leave in the estate had they lived
- Any medical or funeral expenses already paid by the estate
Damages that go to the family include:
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Loss of support and services provided to the family of the decedent
- Loss of parental instruction and guidance
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by surviving family members
Deciding the value of these damages can get complicated quickly, but that’s why you need a Melbourne wrongful death attorney. Our attorneys will add all the economic damages and argue for high non-economic damages.
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Will I Get a Share of the Damages?
Which family members get a share of the damages? It depends on the members of the family and Florida probate law. In general, the more dependent someone is on the deceased, the greater their right to a share of the damages.
So spouses and minor children will have a greater share than siblings or cousins. The court may also decide that you do not have a claim to a share if there are others ahead of you. If you’re worried about this or how the damages might be shared among the family, speak with our attorneys.
When Must I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
There is a deadline of two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death claim. If you fail to file before that date, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get compensation. This is why you should seek legal advice as soon as possible after your loved one’s death.
There is one important exception to this deadline. If murder or manslaughter caused the death, you can file a wrongful death claim anytime. The accused does not have to be arrested, charged, or convicted.
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What Happens If the Defendant Is Charged with a Crime?
Many wrongful deaths happen because of violent crime. The state may also charge the person you want to sue in a criminal trial. You can sue them for wrongful death while their criminal case is in process.
If the defendant is convicted in criminal court, they may face jail, prison, fines, and many other penalties. If you prevail in civil court against them, you will receive financial compensation.
Also, if a conviction happens, it will be easier to win your civil case. Criminal cases use a standard of evidence called “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is difficult to reach. Civil cases have an easier standard to meet called a “preponderance of evidence.” If the person you sue is convicted, telling the court that the evidence is in your favor is much easier.
Evidence to Help Your Claim
If we believe you have a case, our investigators will gather evidence to support it. If you have any of the following documents, please bring them with you when you speak with our Melbourne wrongful death lawyers:
- Life insurance policies purchased by or on behalf of the deceased
- Names and contact information of all family survivors
- Accident reports from the police
- Medical records of the decedent
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Names and numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident
- Any clothing the decedent wore at the time of the accident
- The death certificate
- The contact information of your estate attorney, if you have one
We can help you find these as part of our services if you do not have them. We also need to know if anyone else suffered death at the time of the accident. If you have been offered a settlement or approached about the case by someone you believe caused your loved one’s death, do not talk with them. Call us instead to handle your case.
Start Your Wrongful Death Claim Now
Wrongful death claims are extremely difficult for the survivors, but that’s why we’re here. SKG is your shoulder to lean on while we pursue your claim. Our compassionate lawyers will fight until the case is won or the law permits us to go no further.
Our Melbourne wrongful death attorneys will get started on your claim right away. Call the Schiller Kessler Group at the number on your screen for a free appointment. Our firm only charges a fee if we win your claim in court, so there is no risk or obligation to use our services. Contact us now and get the help you need.