I am Orlando wrongful death attorney Michael T. Gibson and I am here to tell you that you are not alone when someone else’s misconduct robs you of the companionship and support of a family member. At my wrongful death law firm, my legal team works tirelessly to seek justice for families who have lost a loved one in a serious accident as a result of negligence.
What is a wrongful death?
My law firm handles cases in which someone is killed due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party. Whether that party is an individual or business entity, when the death is not the fault of the deceased, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed to recover compensation for damages – even if no criminal activity took place.
As an Orlando wrongful death attorney, I can cite many accident situations that may result in wrongful deaths. Some of the more common instances I have seen in my years as anOrlando Personal Injury Lawyer include:
- car accidents involving drunk or drug-impaired drivers;
- car accidents caused by careless, reckless, or aggressive drivers;
- boating accidents caused by negligent captains or crew members;
- negligent security on the part of businesses or property owners;
- manufacturers of dangerous drugs or defective products;
- medical malpractice; and
- many other scenarios.
Unfortunately, wrongful deaths are more common than you might think. As an Orlando personal injury lawyer I see cases of serious injury due to negligence on a daily basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 29.5 million visits to the ER in 2009 for unintentional injuries. With so many accidents, many result in injuries so severe that they cost victims their lives.
In 2010 there were 120,859 unintentional injury deaths reported by the CDC, which is nearly 40 deaths per 100,000 population. When an individual loses his or her life due to the negligence of another, his or her survivors may seek legal recourse against the responsible party for damages. An Orlando wrongful death attorney can be a great asset to your family as you handle the difficult days and complex legal issues following the loss of a loved one.
Wrongful Death Claims are Complex Negligence Cases
One of the first things your Orlando wrongful death attorney should inform you of is the Florida statute of limitations for wrongful deaths is two years. This means you only have a mere 24 months to bring legal action for your case. This is why it is important to consult with my Orlando personal injury lawyer team as soon as possible. We’ll not only ensure your claim is filed on time, but can help with other complex legal issues that may arise.
In a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, you will have to prove that your family member died as a result of negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Proving negligence in a wrongful death case is similar to a personal injury claim. However, one of the major differences is that not only must you show that your loved one’s injuries resulted from another’s negligence, but also that those injuries ultimately caused their death.
Depending on the details of the case, the defense in a wrongful death case may try to prove that your loved one’s injuries from the act of negligence were not the cause of death, and other existing medical conditions were the actual cause. Other cases may result in the defendant outright denying that any negligence took place on his or her behalf, and it was the fault of the deceased that the accident or injury occurred.
To fight these accusations and obtain the proper verdict in your case, allow a committed Orlando wrongful death attorney to handle your case. As an Orlando personal injury lawyer, I begin gathering evidence of negligence and serious injury as soon as my clients begin their case.
If the injury results in the death of the victim, I become their Orlando wrongful death attorney who seeks justice for their loss. Wrongful death cases often have higher settlement values than personal injury cases because they cause more extensive losses. A personal injury may only result in a few months of lost wages and medical expenses, while a wrongful death can cause a family the loss of a source of income for the rest of the deceased’s potential working years.
When Personal Injury
Turns into Wrongful Death
In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit is necessary after a personal injury claim is already in progress. This may be the case if the victim is seriously injured and spends months receiving treatment, only to eventually pass away from their injuries.
These are still cases of wrongful death, even though they began as personal injury claims. My wrongful death law firm handles both personal injury and wrongful death cases because they are so closely related.
As an Orlando personal injury attorney, when I consult with families who have come to me with a case of serious injury to a family member, I prepare their case for every possible scenario, including a wrongful death lawsuit.
During my meetings with the family, I determine the family members who are necessary to involve in the case.
Only the personal representative of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim on his or her behalf. In cases of a married couple, the surviving spouse may act as this representative. In other cases, an Orlando personal injury attorney may serve as the representative, or the decedent’s adult child, sibling, or parent. Determining who is eligible to lead the wrongful death lawsuit is a matter I help facilitate as an Orlando wrongful death attorney.
Determining Beneficiaries and Compensation
in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Once the wrongful death lawsuit is in progress, the beneficiaries of the claim need to be identified. According to Florida laws, the following parties may be eligible to recover damages:
- the surviving spouse;
- minor children of the decedent;
- children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse;
- parents of a deceased minor child; and
- parents of a deceased adult child if there are no other survivors.
In cases in which other family members are involved in the wrongful death situation, such as a sibling who helps pay for funeral costs out of pocket, they may also be entitled to some of the settlement funds.
Wrongful death settlements should provide financial compensation for all aspects of loss when a loved one is killed due to another’s negligence. It’s not just a matter of the loss of a household income or the medical bills associated with the fatal injuries. The loss of emotional support is a large factor in the settlement value of your case.
Insurance companies may not readily address the emotional losses a family suffers when a member is tragically killed. Spouses can file for loss of consortium, companionship, and familial support, children can be compensated for the loss of guardianship and parental guidance, and parents can be compensated for the emotional impact losing a child can have on their lives.
In my years as an Orlando personal injury lawyer I have yet to see two wrongful death cases that settled in the same manner. Every case is unique – from the cause of death to the family members entitled to recovery. These beneficiaries of wrongful death lawsuits deserve to know that their financial losses will be remedied.
While my wrongful death law firm cannot heal the emotional losses the beneficiaries suffer, we make it our priority to help ensure their financial losses are not a burden on them during this time. If you have lost a family member due to negligence in Orlando or elsewhere in Central Florida, you should contact my wrongful death law firm to get legal representation from an Orlando wrongful death attorney.
Orlando Wrongful Death FAQ:
Some of the most tragic moments in a person’s life revolve around the loss of a loved one. It’s even more disheartening when that loss was sudden and could have been prevented. Many sudden losses are the fault of another person or company. When that happens, victims’ families face many questions and emotions. If you recently lost a loved one in an accident that wasn’t his or her fault, you are likely angry and upset but also grieving.
There is no question that this is a difficult time in your life. You must remember that you do not have to go through this alone. You have friends and family to support you and help you grieve. Also, if your loved one’s death was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or carelessness of another party, your Orlando wrongful death lawyer is also here to help.
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to hold the at-fault party liable for your loved one’s death and shift the financial burden of that death from you to the at-fault party. You are grieving the loss of your loved one, and your life is forever changed. Because of that change, you may face financial hardship, and that is not your burden to bear. Rather, it is the person who forced you into this situation. When you (and your loved one) are not the one to blame for your loved one’s death, the law gives you the ability to collect damages from the person who is to blame. A wrongful death lawyer in Orlando can help you maximize your compensation.
What is wrongful death?
When a person dies due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, that is a wrongful death. Over 30,000 people die each year in car accidents. These types of accidents are the most common cause of wrongful death, but they aren’t the only cause.
No matter what caused your loved one’s death, you are suffering, and you might not be thinking about your legal options. However, you generally only have two years from the date of death of your loved one to bring a wrongful death claim. Two years might seem like a long time, but when you are suffering and dealing with your grief, two years can go by quickly.
As soon as possible after your loved one’s death, you need to speak with an Orlando wrongful death attorney. The right lawyer can help you recover damages from the at-fault party, which is the person or company that caused your loved one’s death. Not only do you deserve compensation and reimbursement, but your loved one deserves justice. Let us help.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. You may suffer the loss of a good friend, but you cannot file a wrongful death claim in that instance.
Generally, the people eligible to file a wrongful death claim include:
You must also prove your relationship to the deceased beyond just proving the elements of the wrongful death claim. This is not a simple or easy process. In fact, wrongful death claims, regardless of the type of accident that caused the death, can be extremely complex and time-consuming. Working with a trusted wrongful death lawyer in Orlando can help you feel at ease that your case is being handled competently.
What compensation is available for wrongful death claims?
The type and amount of compensation that you ultimately receive in a Florida wrongful death claim will vary. This amount depends on many factors surrounding the death of your loved one.
Damages may include:
- Final medical expense reimbursement
- Funeral cost reimbursement
- Lost Wages
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of financial support
- Lost inheritance
- Your pain and suffering
Take into account your own suffering through all of this. While you should seek reimbursement for the expenses that you’ve already incurred, you should also make sure to include future and emotional costs in your claim. Do not discount your own suffering.
Will I have to go to court?
Probably not, at least not for a trial. Very few civil lawsuits ever make it to trial, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need a lawyer, or that your case won’t end up before a judge and jury. You should remain prepared for everything, and working with a lawyer who has the skills and the resources to take your case to trial is important.
At a minimum, you might have to attend a hearing in court to discuss the wrongful death claim. However, we will guide you and do all of the talking in court. We work hard to settle your case out of court, as settling out of court is usually better for you anyway.
Should I settle?
Speaking of settling, it has benefits. When you settle, it generally means your wrongful death claim moves faster and concludes sooner. We know you want to put this tragic moment in your life behind you as quickly as possible. That’s why we work hard to make sure the settlement is right for you. Because not all settlements are fair, and sometimes the settlement might even be bad for you, we always advise clients before they accept any settlement. A wrongful death settlement offer will come from the insurance company of the person or company who caused your loved one’s death. Insurance companies do not align their interests with yours. They want to settle your claim for as little as possible, and that’s why they will likely offer you a quick, low-ball settlement. They hope you take it because they know that you are grieving and that you want nothing more than to put this behind you and move on with your life.
When you do accept a low-ball settlement offer, it might include a clause that prohibits you from bringing any future claim against the insurance company for your loved one’s death. This could mean you end up paying out of pocket for funeral expenses or medical expenses. Accordingly, we urge you to contact us before accepting any settlement in your wrongful death claim. We can help you calculate the full value of your claim and what you not only need to cover your expenses and losses but also what you should seek for your emotional pain and suffering.
If I win, will I have to pay taxes on my compensation?
Generally, no. Proceeds from a wrongful death settlement or verdict are not taxable. However, in some cases, punitive damages are taxable. However, this should not prohibit you from moving forward with your wrongful death claim.
Collecting damages from the person who caused your loved one’s untimely death is your right under Florida law. Let us help you exercise that right by guiding you through the complex wrongful death claims process. We know this is not a road that you necessarily want to go down, but we have helped many clients like you, and we know the end result can help you heal.
How do I prove wrongful death?
To prove someone died at the hands of another party, there are certain elements that you must establish. First, you must prove that the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care. For example, if your loved one died during surgery, the doctor and other medical personnel owed your loved one a duty of care to provide reasonable medical treatment.
Next, you must show that the at-fault party breached the duty of care by acting in a negligent, reckless, or careless manner that resulted in your loved one’s death. This allows you to prove that your loved one’s death was wrongful, and that these other parties are responsible for your loss.
This sounds simple, but we promise you that it is not. It is extremely complex and difficult to prove, even in seemingly simple situations. Besides that, your emotions are likely running high, and it might be challenging for you to make sound decisions without some experienced guidance. This is why working with a compassionate and aggressive Orlando wrongful death lawyer gives you the best of both worlds.
What do I need to look for in a wrongful death lawyer?
After the loss of a loved one, you are not thinking about a legal claim or what questions to ask a potential wrongful death lawyer. You should choose your lawyer carefully, as he or she can impact the outcome of your case. Making a selection on the right Orlando personal injury lawyer for you requires diligence.
When you meet with an attorney, you should ask them several questions, including:
- What experience do you have handling similar wrongful death cases?
- Do you have regular experts with whom you work in wrongful death cases?
- How many cases like this do you settle without a trial?
- What is your fee structure?
Most importantly, you want to feel comfortable with your lawyer. This is a person who will be handling a very important and personal matter to you. It’s important that you feel comfortable with and trust your chosen attorney.
Why do I need a wrongful death lawyer?
When lawyers work in wrongful death cases, they develop knowledge and skills over time. You want a lawyer with this knowledge so that you can benefit from these developed skills. One of the most important aspects of a wrongful death claim is deadlines. There are many deadlines and filing timelines that you must meet to keep your case moving forward. If you miss a deadline, the court may dismiss your case. This action could prevent you from collecting compensation to which you are entitled.
Your lawyer also knows the value of your claim, and he or she can help you understand it, too. You may remember the bills that you paid for your loved one’s death, but there are many more calculations needed to fully understand the value of your wrongful death claim.
All wrongful death claims have inherent complexities. The complex nature of these claims means that they can become extremely time-consuming. Ensuring that you have a valid claim and that you are providing the correct evidence, all while ensuring deadlines are met, requires the keen eye of an experienced Orlando wrongful death lawyer. With the wrong lawyer, mistakes may cost you dearly in the form of lost time and lost money. However, with the right lawyer at your side, aggressively working to protect your rights while being understanding and compassionate of the situation you are in, can help to maximize your compensation and help you move on with your life.
How do I start a wrongful death claim?
After a traumatic death of your loved one, it’s understandable to have concerns and questions about what comes next. That’s why your first step is to contact an Orlando wrongful death lawyer. Your lawyer will guide you through the process, helping you and supporting you along the way. We know this is an extremely challenging time in your life and we want to help you get through it and come out better on the other side. Working with us can give you the peace of mind you need so that you can focus on grieving with your family.
Michael T. Gibson – An Orlando
Personal Injury Lawyer Who Gets Results
Though nothing can bring back your deceased family member, financial compensation for damages may help to bring your family closure and ensure that your financial stability is not compromised in the wake of such a devastating loss.
You can’t place a dollar value on the life of a loved one, but you can seek a settlement to alleviate your financial burdens as you seek healing and comfort from these emotional losses. If you don’t have to worry about how to make ends meet when your family is dealing with your loss, that’s a stress my wrongful death law firm would like to alleviate.
Wrongful Death Attorneys
The wrongful death law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney. has helped residents of Lake, Osceola, Volusia, Orange, and Polk Counties seek justice for their losses. I can begin your case as your Orlando personal injury lawyer after a loved one has suffered serious injuries and while I hope it does not progress to such a stage, if a wrongful death lawsuit becomes necessary, I can represent you as your Orlando wrongful death attorney as well. Contact my firm today if you are an immediate survivor of a family member killed through the negligence or misconduct of another and would like to consult with an Orlando wrongful death attorney.
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“Patricia was amazing with helping us and keeping us updated through out the process, very helpful and had a high sense of urgency when it came to gives the information needed as to what was going on with our case. Michael T. Gibson’s office did a fenomenal job.” -Jose S.