Losing a loved one at any point is a challenging experience for the survivors, but when your loved one is killed in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, moving forward after this tragedy can be devastating. The emotional impacts of this loss can take years to recover from, but the financial impacts of this loss may set a family back forever. Fortunately, survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim against those responsible. While no amount of money will ever undo the wrongful death, the survivors should not have to take on the financial impacts of someone’s dangerous behavior, and working with a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that you are able to navigate this complicated legal process successfully while also being able to focus on healing.
The Florida wrongful death lawyers at Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss are here to help you file a claim and fight to recover damages to which you are lawfully entitled. Wrongful death lawsuits can be emotional and difficult, especially when the survivors need to relive the details of the accident to build their case. Our Fort Lauderdale team understands how difficult this can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our approach to these cases by giving our clients the space they need to focus on healing and recovering with their families while we take on the bulk of the complicated legal process.
Contact Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss For a Free Consultation Today
The first step towards working with a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer is your initial interview with the law firm, which we offer as a free consultation and case evaluation. During this initial consultation, we will be able to go through the details of your situation to get a clear understanding of how the accident happened, who was involved, and why it happened. It is important to understand from the start what actions (or inactions) led to the loss of your family member so we develop a clear concept of who we will likely be seeking compensation from. Once we understand the basic details of your situation, we will be able to give you a better sense of how our law firm can help you move forward with your Florida wrongful death case.
Once our Fort Lauderdale law firm is handling your wrongful death claim, you can focus on your personal and family needs without the added stress of this complex legal situation. Looking towards the future without legal support can be overwhelming as you worry about how you can recover from the financial impacts of your loss. But, we will be able to stay focused on these details and provide you with the peace of mind that you deserve.
Read more below to get a better idea of what a wrongful death case entails, and contact us as soon as possible
What Is Wrongful Death?
In simple legal terms, wrongful death is a death that someone else caused through negligence, recklessness, or unlawful behavior. Given this simplistic definition, you can imagine that there are nearly countless ways that a wrongful death can occur in Fort Lauderdale, which is why it is so important to connect with an attorney who can help you understand your legal options. That said, the following four factors are necessary in any personal injury case, including wrongful death.
The Defendant Owed the Deceased a Duty of Care
A duty of care is a simple concept that we all uphold each day, often without even thinking about it. According to the Legal Information Institute, a duty of care is the expectation that someone “must act in the same manner as a reasonably prudent person in their position would.” This ranges from operating a motor vehicle responsibly, providing prudent and accepted medical care as a licensed professional, or simply not assaulting someone. Of course, there are many different duties of care that change with context, so one of the first things that your Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer will do is examine the context of the situation and determine whether or not the other person actually owed the victim a duty of care.
The Defendant Failed Their Duty of Care
When someone in Fort Lauderdale chooses to drive drunk, they have failed to uphold their agreement to safely operate a motor vehicle and avoid causing an accident. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle with a BAC over 0.08 is illegal for adults over the age of 21, as is ingesting any sort of mind-altering controlled substances. Another failure would be a doctor’s failure to diagnose a patient or a misdiagnosis that led to inappropriate or detrimental treatment, otherwise known as medical malpractice. A wrongful death attorney is highly skilled in identifying duties of care and the subsequent failures to uphold these duties.
The Failed Duty of Care Caused an Accident
When someone drives drunk in Fort Lauderdale but makes it home safely or is arrested and cited for DUI, they are in violation of the Florida criminal statutes. However, they have not involved someone else in their reckless decision in a way that led to an accident. If a doctor fails to diagnose an illness, but the patient makes a recovery (or gets a second opinion before moving forward with the proposed treatment), then they have failed to provide their patient with appropriate care, but again, there is no harm in this error. For a personal injury case to be considered, there must be measurable damages as a result of the mistake or accident.
The Victim Suffered Fatal Injuries
When a drunk driver crosses the center line and hits an oncoming vehicle, the situation involves other innocent people who would not have been in an accident if not for the reckless drunk driver’s behavior. When a patient succumbs to a treatable disease because of insufficient or improper care, the doctor is now guilty of medical malpractice. A Fort Lauderdale wrongful death claim is handled like any personal injury case is, but the difference between a personal injury and a wrongful death case is the fact that the latter is fatal. That means the people seeking compensation for the accident are the surviving family members or beneficiaries.
Seeking Compensation After a Wrongful Death
A Fort Lauderdale wrongful death is a tort violation, meaning that the survivors can seek compensation for a range of damages. This can be resolved through either a wrongful death lawsuit or a wrongful death claim if both parties want to work towards a settlement agreement without involving the Florida courts. There are a number of people who may be eligible for compensation depending on their relationship and reliance on the deceased. The best way to determine who can be involved in the wrongful death lawsuit is to speak with a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer. Once you are connected with a wrongful death lawyer, you will be able to determine who can move forward with the case and to what capacity.
A wrongful death lawyer is highly skilled at identifying the many damages that a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death will cause, including both economic and non-economic impacts of the loss. The economic damages in a wrongful death case include things like the cost of medical care for the victim before their death and the many different financial contributions that the deceased made for the family. This includes things like their financial support through work, pension and retirement funds that the survivors will miss out on in the future, and more. These damages depend on the specific relationship with the deceased, all of which a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death lawyer will help you understand.
In addition to the economic damages, there are non-economic effects — these effects do not have measurable dollar values associated with them. They include things like the emotional turmoil that a survivor must endure after losing a loved one, loss of consortium, and much more. Your Fort Lauderdale attorney will go through each of these intangible impacts and determine an appropriate dollar value to compensate you and your family for this tragic loss.