Wrongful Death Attorney Lakeland, FL
A wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, FL knows that after a person dies, no amount of money can compensate for that loss. When a person dies because of a preventable accident or an intentional act, the trauma can linger. It can feel unfair and you may be forced to start your life over. To pick up your life after a death can be difficult. When someone you love dies because of another person, you may wonder what your legal recourse is. If you suffer emotionally or financially because of the loss, you may be able to hold the other party liable. A Lakeland, Florida wrongful death attorney from David & Philpot, P.L. can explain what your legal options may be.
What Happens After a Family Member’s Death?
To lose a family member is always difficult. It does not matter the circumstances, but it can feel even more difficult when someone else is at fault. After someone dies, there are a lot of different expenses associated with the death. First, there may be medical bills from the action until the time of death. In addition, there are funeral costs and other expenses that come as a result of the death.
While these are expenses that are easy to count, if you are financially dependent on the individual or a spouse with combined income, then you are also losing money as a result of the loss. If your financial situation is severely affected, then you will want to seek some kind of recourse. A wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, Florida can determine what damages you may pursue.
What Damages Can You Sue For?
Those who are allowed to sue for damages include:
- The spouse of the deceased
- The parents of the deceased
- The children of the deceased
There are several types of damages that you may sue for. These damages may include the lost earning capacity of your loved one, the loss of companionship, loss of household services, loss of inheritance, and any emotional pain and anguish that you suffer because of the loss. Survivors are allowed to ask for compensation for any loss that they suffer because of the death. If they are cheated out of finances, gifts or support that they would have had if the person lived, they may be able to add it to the claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are few things worse than experiencing the death of a loved one. It is a very natural thing to desire some justice for the death of someone you loved, which is why wrongful death lawsuits exist. If you are in this situation, you probably have many questions on top of everything else on your mind. This guide will explain what a wrongful death lawsuit is and who is allowed to file one. After reading, if you think filing a wrongful death would be a beneficial action to take, contact a wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, FL who specializes in wrongful death specifically.
It may be easier to think of a wrongful death lawsuit as a personal injury lawsuit filed on behalf of the deceased. In a personal injury lawsuit, anyone who was injured can file a lawsuit to recover all damages they suffered as a result of the injury. This includes financial losses, such as the hospital bill, and non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering. If the victim passed away due to his or her injuries, then filing a lawsuit is impossible. In this situation, the loved ones of the victim may file on his or her behalf. Because it is not the victim filing directly, the loved ones may reclaim damages that both they and the deceased suffered.
Who Can File?
The exact list of people who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim varies from one state to the next. Most close family members are always allowed, but it is a good idea to research who is allowed to sue in the state the accident happened in. Remember, it is not the home state of you, the victim, or the defendant that matters, but the state where the death occurred. Regardless of your state and as noted above, these individuals are always able to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Parents of minor children
Additionally, these individuals are commonly allowed to file, but there are some states which place restrictions on them:
- Parents of adult children
- Extended family members
If your relationship to the deceased is not listed here, or if you appear on the second list, it would be a good idea to speak with a Lakeland wrongful death attorney to get more information. This is an opportunity to get all your questions answered. Even if you are not allowed to file a lawsuit, you may be able to receive some compensation through the lawsuit someone who is allowed to files.
If I file a wrongful death claim, will I have to go to court?
When a loved one passes away in an act of violence or negligence, the surviving family members may wonder if they can pursue a wrongful death claim against the person responsible. And if they have grounds to do so, will it require them to attend court or testify during the trial? These are excellent questions, and the answers will vary from one case to the next depending on the details involved. As a wrongful death attorney Lakeland, Florida residents can count on, the law firm of David & Philpot, P.L., is an excellent resource for families who wish to know what legal options they have available to them. Because of this, we offer those in the Lakeland, Florida community a free initial consultation with our wrongful death attorney to ask the questions that will provide them with the answers they need to make informed decisions.
Not every case is resolved in a courtroom.
In fact, our Lakeland, Florida wrongful death attorney will make every reasonable effort to come to a positive conclusion without subjecting the client to a trial, if possible. A high percentage of cases are settled out of court, and this is good news for grieving family members. A settlement agreement allows them to collect a monetary award from the defendant usually much faster than if they have to endure a long trial. Another advantage of accepting an out of court settlement is that a trial does not always conclude with a win for the plaintiff. In that scenario, on top of their grief, the surviving family members may have to pay the court costs and attorney fees of the defendant – should they lose in court.
Mediation is an effective alternative to courtroom litigation.
Before the two sides head to the courtroom, it may be possible to come to a mutual agreement through mediation. This is a method that may allow the plaintiff and defendant to arrive at a solution without getting a judge and jury involved. If both sides and their wrongful death lawyers meet with a professional mediator who is a neutral third-party, the mediator may help them to find common ground. For example, the defendant may agree to pay the plaintiff a financial sum for their monetary damages in exchange for not having to make a public apology for the death of the victim. Neither side may be completely satisfied with the agreement, but it can prevent having to go through a lengthy, stressful, and costly trial. When this happens, the case will be considered a claim. Only when the claim is unsettled, will a wrongful death attorney Lakeland, FL residents trust pursue a lawsuit.
A seasoned wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, FL, from David & Philpot, P.L., may protect your best interests.
If you should have to go to court to seek justice for the death of your loved one, our wrongful death attorney in Lakeland, FL will make every effort to protect your best interests and make the trial process as easy as possible, considering the circumstances. It may be possible to avoid taking the stand, but your lawyer will know best after taking your case and familiarizing themselves with the details of what occurred. The damages awarded to you upon a successful trial will ultimately be determined by the judge and jury.
The 3 Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
Our wrongful death attorney in Lakeland knows that losing someone you love to an accident can bring your family to its knees. All the years you spent together now seem to have gone by too quickly. Without closure, it seems like you may never be able to move forward.
When you find out that your loved one died because of someone else’s actions, you may act to get the closure you need. A wrongful death lawsuit may help you and your family ensure that your loved one’s death was not in vain. Filing a suit against the person responsible seems easy enough, but the process itself may be convoluted and lengthy. Become familiar with these three elements of a traditional wrong death lawsuit, so you know what to expect when filing your own.
1. You Must Establish Your Relationship With the Deceased
The laws in each state vary about who can file a wrongful death suit. It is quite common, though, for spouses and dependent children to file wrongful death actions. Parents of children who have died may also file on behalf of their late children. The states start to differ when it comes to anything beyond these familial relationships. Some states bar parents of adult children from filing a suit, and the converse, of adult children filing when a parent dies. It helps to show that you were financially dependant on the deceased and that the loss of income impacts you deeply.
2. You Must Prove the Defendant Was Negligent
In wrongful death cases, the defendant must not only be shown to be responsible for the actions that led to death but that those actions were negligent. Much like personal injury cases, the defendant must have either acted recklessly or refrained from taking action when they should have. The events caused by the negligence must be the catalyst that caused the accident or incident leading to the death of your loved one. For instance, if your spouse was killed in a car accident, you must prove that the at-fault driver was either driving recklessly or ignoring traffic laws. Had the defendant been acting as they should have behind the wheel, your spouse may still be alive.
3. You Must Show the Death Financially Impacts You
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover damages or money. The amount you can collect varies from state to state, but in many cases, the court may award the plaintiff what they see fit. Some of the factors considered in coming up with the amount include the cost of medical treatment, funeral services, and the loss of income caused by the defendant.
When a Wrongful Death Claim Can Be Filed
You can think of a wrongful death claim as a personal injury claim for when the victim passes away as a result of the injury. The same requirements and burden of proof generally apply in both types of cases.
The most common type of wrongful death claim is brought when someone acted negligently or recklessly and caused another’s death. For example, if someone caused a car accident which resulted in someone else dying, that person could be held legally and financially responsible for the loss via a wrongful death claim.
Medical malpractice is another extremely common type of wrongful death claim. If a medical professional failed to provide adequate care, a wrongful death case might be brought against him or her. Finally, wrongful death claims can be brought against someone for intentionally killing the victim. In these cases, the wrongful death lawsuit will serve as the civil case counterpart to the criminal investigation. The criminal and civil cases are independent and may have different resolutions.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The answer to the question of who can file a wrongful death claim is dependent upon which state you live in. An experienced Lakeland, FL wrongful death attorney can clarify who may file a wrongful death claim in your situation. Generally speaking, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by:
- The spouse of the victim
- The parent of a minor victim
- The minor children of the victim
In some states, these individuals can also file a claim:
- Siblings of the victim
- Parents of an adult victim
- Adult children of the victim
- Extended family of the victim
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
All the same damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim as a personal injury claim. These damages generally include pain and suffering of the victim, all medical bills the victim had to pay prior to death, loss of income, and other miscellaneous expenses that resulted from the injury. Because wrongful death claims involve a death, rather than just an injury, addition damages may be reclaimed, such as funeral and burial costs, loss of inheritance, loss of services provided by the victim, and loss of companionship. An experienced Lakeland, FL wrongful death attorney can help you to understand the outcomes you could potentially expect from a wrongful death claim filed in response to the death of your loved one(s). Contact David & Philpot, P.L. to learn more today!
Let a Lakeland, FL Wrongful Death Attorney Help
When it comes to wrongful death, there are a lot of different damages that you can ask for. To lose a family member is hard and nothing can make up for that death. However, seeking compensation can help you return to a more financially stable state than before. For more information and to find out if you have a claim, contact a wrongful death attorney Lakeland, FL families recommend from David & Philpot, P.L. today.