The Right Attorneys in Case of Wrongful Death
When the life of a loved one is cut short because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, those who are left behind suddenly face a world of unexpected loss, pain and difficult decisions. Such wrongful deaths can occur as a result of car accidents, defective products, medical malpractice and nursing home abuse or neglect.
The wrongful death attorneys at Martinez Manglardi have the experience and expertise to assist those who face the life-altering emotional and financial consequences. Our statewide litigation firm has protected the interests of Florida’s families since 1988. Over the past 15 years, we have recovered hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements for our clients – among the highest in Central Florida.
Insurance companies know that we have the resources to win even the most complex wrongful death claim. Although our wrongful death attorneys remain sensitive to our client’s emotional needs during this difficult time, our priority is taking care of their future financial requirements. Our firm’s partners are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States.
For questions about wrongful death claims in Orlando, Apopka, Orange County, Seminole County, Lake County, Polk County, Kissimmee, Osceola County, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Ocala as well as other cities and counties throughout Florida, call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation.
About Wrongful Death Cases
In legal terms, a wrongful death refers to a fatality that occurs because of the negligence or misdeeds of another person, corporation or entity. Part of the “personal injury” tort family, wrongful death holds an individual, group or corporation (defendant) accountable for causing injury to another person (plaintiff). The primary goal of a personal injury tort by wrongful death attorneys is to provide relief (damages) to the plaintiff and to deter the defendant from inflicting further harm on others. In a wrongful death action, consideration is given to the earnings the deceased would have provided to their family had they lived. Damages are awarded to survivors based on this monetary loss. Survivors may also receive damages for medical and funeral expenses for the victim, estate administration expenses, survivor’s emotional pain and suffering, and punitive damages in the case of intentional harm.
State laws vary as to who may pursue a wrongful death claim. Generally, it is the immediate family members (spouses, children, and parents); however, some states allow grandparents, legal dependents or members of the extended family to file suit. The amount of damages will depend on the plaintiff’s relationship to the deceased. The compensation for damages may include the following reimbursements:
- All medical expenses incurred as a result of the negligence.
- The loss of any future income.
- Property damage, if applicable.
- Future services normally provided to you by the person who has died.
- Loss of consortium, meaning a spouse’s right to the companionship, help and affection from the person who has died.
- Punitive damages if criminal negligence occured.
Typically, wrongful death suits involve motor vehicle accidents (automobile, truck, motorcycle), defective products, medical malpractice (birth injuries, doctor negligence, hospital error, misdiagnosis), pharmaceutical liability, prescription dangers, pharmacy errors and a number of other situations. The common element in most tort actions is negligence, which is characterized by inattention, thoughtlessness, inadvertence, and mistake. Martinez Manglardi wrongful death attorneys are skilled in helping clients prove that the four critical components of negligence exist in their claim:
- The defendant had a duty to the deceased;
- The defendant failed in that duty (breach of duty);
- That the defendant’s breach of duty caused the fatality; and
- That the survivors are entitled to damages.
In addition to establishing negligence, a survivor must establish a relationship to the deceased. A survivor must document a claim for loss of future earnings. Finally, effective presentation of the non-economic or emotional loss suffered by the survivor is critical to a fair award of damages.
Wrongful death cases are always emotional. While grieving, you should not make any major decisions affecting any future recoveries without consulting wrongful death attorneys. You should not enter into any settlement, sign any release or accept any money in exchange for releasing anyone from liability.
The wrongful death attorneys at Martinez Manglardi are on your side. A team of professionals, including nurses, doctors, engineers and other experts work on our cases. Lawyers, judges and clients recognize Martinez Manglardui as one of the top civil trial firms in Central Florida.
If you feel you have the basis for a wrongful death suit, call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation. We have offices serving Orlando, Apopka, Orange County, Seminole County, Lake County, Polk County, Kissimmee, Osceola County, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Ocala as well as other cities and counties throughout Florida.
Common Questions for Wrongful Death Attorneys
1. What is a wrongful death claim?
In general terms, when a person’s wrongful conduct results in someone’s death, certain family members of the victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The wrongful act that resulted in death may have been intentional, reckless, or negligent. In cases where a dangerous product caused the death, it may not be necessary to show wrongful conduct in order to recover.
2. Who can file a wrongful death case?
Surviving family members, such a spouse, children or the parents of the decedent may pursue the wrongful death claim. Absent these, the administrator of the decedent’s estate can sue on behalf of the estate.
3. Can I bring a wrongful death action if the deceased never held a job?
Yes, even if the decedent never held a job, they may have contributed in some other way to the family. A good example of such a decedent is a housewife, who contributes services, guidance and nurturing to her family. These contributions are quantifiable as “pecuniary losses” in a wrongful death action.
4. Can someone sue for the pain and suffering of a decedent?
Yes, in addition to the wrongful death, a decedent’s family may recover damages for the pain and suffering that the decedent endured prior to death.
5. What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?It depends on whether a person dies as a result of injuries from the accident or from unrelated causes. If a person injured in an accident subsequently dies because of those injuries, that person’s heirs may recover money through a lawsuit. If a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, the claim survives in most cases. The executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may pursue a claim.
What kinds of damages are recoverable in these cases?
Normally, the following losses are recoverable:
Expenses associated with the death (medical & funeral)
Benefits (pension, medical coverage, etc.)
Pain and suffering of the survivors; and
Loss of care, protection, companionship to the survivors.
When someone dies, what is the difference between the civil and criminal cases that can be brought regarding the death?
A criminal case involves the government seeking to punish an individual for breaking the law. A civil case involves the rights and duties that individuals and organizations legally owe to each other. The burden of proof is higher in a criminal case and the penalty is a criminal sanction. In a civil case, the defendant will typically have a monetary judgment entered against him/her.
What is the first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim?
Given that wrongful death claims and survival actions generally involve a variety of complex legal issues, the first step is to contact one of our wrongful death attorneys. Survivors entitled to compensation should contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible because of the statutes of limitations.
What about the costs involved in pursuing a case?
Many attorneys will agree to work on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the attorney will receive a percentage of a settlement or judgment.
How long will my wrongful death case last?
Sadly, these things take time. Lawyers can sometimes settle a case before filing a lawsuit. Generally, however, a lawyer has to file a lawsuit. In most cases, they are able to reach a settlement before a case goes to trial. The process can take many months. A case that goes to trial could last a number of years.
For a free consultation about wrongful death claims call 407-846-2240.