Florida Personal Injury FAQs
Why Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?
When someone else is at fault in an accident, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable lawyer will have the resources needed to investigate the accident and help you understand the personal injury lawsuit process ahead of you.
At Freidin Brown, P.A., our team has more than 100 years of combined experience representing individuals who’ve suffered serious injury or lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless acts of another person or business.
Experience. Knowledge. Results.
A personal injury lawyer can act as your advocate after an accident. He or she will provide you with critical information about your case and guide you in your pursuit of maximum compensation for your injuries. Benefits working with a lawyer after an accident include:
Legal Advice: An experienced lawyer with a track record of achieving successful results can advise you on how to legally address injuries sustained from a car accident, truck accident, medical mistake, or defective product. A personal injury lawyer can answer important questions that can improve the likelihood you will receive full and fair compensation for your injuries, including:
- What evidence or photos should be collected?
- Who should I talk to after an accident?
- How should I document an accident or incident that has resulted in serious personal injury to myself or a loved one?
Case Evaluation: Two of the most important questions after a Florida accident are “Do I have a case?” and “How much is my case worth?” An lawyer who has handled hundreds of accidents just like yours can provide you with an accurate assessment of your case. Understanding the legal issues that may arise in your case can help you determine whether pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is necessary to fully recover after another person or business harms you or your family.
Experienced Legal Guidance: Navigating the complex legal process after an accident or injury isn’t easy. It is often complicated by lawyers and insurance companies trying to limit the at-fault person or business’ financial responsibility for your injuries. While you focus on healing, grieving and recovering, your personal injury lawyer can deal with the person or business responsible for your pain and suffering and handle all matters related to the insurance company.
Contact our firm online or at 866-716-7292 to discuss your questions with a lawyer. Consultations are FREE.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil legal actions that are designed to hold a person or an entity accountable for causing another’s death through negligent, wrongful, or intentional acts. In general terms, wrongful death cases function similarly to personal injury lawsuits in that they seek justice and financial compensation for incidents and damages that could and should have been prevented. One way to understand these cases is to view them as personal injury claims where the victim is no longer able to bring legal action on their one. Instead, another party will need to bring the wrongful death action.
What do you need to prove in a wrongful death case?
Wrongful death cases can involve a range of unique facts and circumstances, but generally focus on a few important legal concepts and the need to prove fault and liability. In order to prevail, the following general elements must be proven:
- A legal duty existed – A wrongful death lawsuit will only have merit if there was sometype of legal duty between the defendant and the decedent. This means the defendant owed the victim a “duty of care” to take reasonable steps that would prevent them from suffering harm. This “duty of care” can exist in many ways depending on the circumstances. For example, doctors have a duty to treat patients in accordance to accepted standards and guidelines. Additionally, motorists have a duty to take reasonable steps in safely operating their vehicles.
- The legal duty was breached – Families bringing wrongful death suits must further prove that a legal duty owed to the decedent was breached by the defendant. This simply means the defendant failed to uphold their legal obligations, such as when a doctor provides below-standard care in treating the decedent, or when a motorist violates their duty to safely operate a vehicle by driving under the influence or running a red light. Breaching a legal duty typically arises from negligence, but it may also involve intentional acts of violence or misconduct.
- Causation – Proving causation is one of the most important elements of a wrongful death action, and it requires families to show that a defendant more likely than not caused the victim’s death. To prove this element, claims must be supported by strong arguments and evidence, and often times expert testimony. Such an example would include showing how a doctor’s mistake constituted substandard care, and how that mistake more likely than not caused death. One way of explaining causation is to say “but for” the wrongful or negligent conduct, the injury or death would not have occurred.
- Damages – Wrongful death lawsuits are ultimately intended to help surviving family members secure justice for their losses, as well as a financial recovery of their damages. Because losing a loved one can cause many profound emotional and financial losses, wrongful death cases typically allow for the recovery of economic and non-economic damages, such as medical expenses incurred prior to death, funeral expenses, lost financial support, loss of emotional support or consortium, and other financial or emotional injuries. The damages a family can recover is specifically explained in the Florida Statutes, and they can be very difficult to determine given the intricacies and fact patterns of each particular case. If you think you might have a case, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer so that we can explain to you all your rights and what you may be entitled to recover as damages.
Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?
Under Florida law, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate must bring a wrongful death action. This personal representative may be someone named in the decedent’s will, or someone who represents the estate’s beneficiaries or survivors. This representative often brings the claim on behalf of surviving family members, including a decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, or other financially dependent beneficiaries. The personal representative can be a family member, including a surviving spouse or child, or it can be anyone else selected by the survivors. At Freidin Brown, P.A., we guide our clients through the entire process of naming a personal representative.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Generally, surviving families and representatives typically have two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, that time limit or “statute of limitations” may be different in certain cases, such as those involving misdiagnosed illnesses or claims against government entities. Because the statute of limitations may vary, and because these cases require much time and investigation before a lawyer can file a lawsuit, it is important that families contact a proven and experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
What happens if there is a criminal case involved?
In some cases, defendants who may be liable for another’s death may face criminal charges, such as in the case of a fatal drunk driving accident. It is important to remember that even when criminal cases are involved, they are handled in separate proceedings in criminal court, focus on whether or not a person is guilty of a crime, and use a different burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt). They do not focus on financial liability for the death, and are not a viable source of compensation for surviving family members. As such, families would need to pursue wrongful death actions in civil court, which uses a lower burden of proof (a preponderance of the evidence or “more likely than not”) to determine if a person is financially responsible for another’s death and resulting damages.
Because criminal and civil actions arising from incidents involving death are separate and distinct matters, the outcome of one does not always indicate the outcome of the other. Even if no criminal charges are filed or if defendants are found not guilty in criminal court, they may still be held civilly liable in a wrongful death suit. For example, in the case of O.J. Simpson, he was found not guilty in his criminal case, but he was held liable in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the families in civil court.
Do I need a lawyer?
You are never required by law to have a lawyer when bringing legal action against an at-fault party. But pro se litigants are rarely successful when up against other lawyers and insurance companies. This is why an experienced lawyer on your side makes all the difference. Lawyers who handle wrongful death lawsuits, like ours at Freidin Brown, P.A., know how to deal with complex and confusing legal proceedings while being respectful and understanding to our clients who may still be recovering from the shock of losing a loved one. This is why we do all we can to handle the challenging legal work on behalf of our clients, which can require extensive experience, resources, and even professional connections if experts must be used. When you depend on having a h3 case to secure the justice and compensation your family deserves, there is no substitute to enlisting the help of legal professionals. In addition, wrongful death cases can be extremely expensive. When you retain Freidin Brown, P.A., we will pay for all litigation costs and we will only be reimbursed if and when a recovery is made. If no recovery is made, nothing is owed to us. That’s our promise to you.
I fell and was injured on someone else’s property. Can I sue?
All property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe and reasonable condition. If they aren’t doing this, and you are injured as a result of negligently maintained premises, you can sue. Often times this is called a “trip and fall” or “slip and fall.”