Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyers - Paul Knopf Bigger
Did you lose a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful actions? If so, you and your family might be entitled to compensation from those responsible for your loved one’s death. Let an Orlando wrongful death attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger advocate for your family’s rights and interests while you focus on healing.
While nothing can make up for the loss of a loved one, monetary compensation can help you move forward after a tragic, unthinkable event. Our dedicated attorneys can seek the financial relief and accountability you deserve from the parties who caused your loss.
With a proven track record of litigating and winning the most challenging cases, we are prepared to fight for you and seek maximum compensation. Contact Paul Knopf Bigger today for a free, no-obligation. Let our law firm advise you on your legal options for a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Are the Common Wrongful Death Cases in Orlando?
At Paul Knopf Bigger, we represent families who have lost loved ones due to the wrongful acts and omissions of others in various situations. Some of the most common wrongful death cases we handle involve the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective product accidents
What Do You Have to Prove in a Florida Wrongful Death Case?
Under Florida law, a wrongful death is caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.” Thus, in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove that their loved one’s death occurred due to another party’s wrongful act, negligence, or failure to act.
Many wrongful death lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a defendant breaches a duty of care they owed to the decedent and, as a result of that breach, the decedent suffers a fatal injury or illness. For instance, all motorists must obey traffic laws and drive carefully to avoid harming others. A driver who runs a red light or drives through a stop sign and causes a fatal collision could be found negligent and liable for the death. A wrongful death may also occur due to professional negligence, such as medical malpractice, a defective product, or an intentional act (such as a crime).
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a plaintiff (the person, family, or entity filing the lawsuit) will need various kinds of evidence to prove that a party is liable for a wrongful death. Some examples of evidence attorneys often use to prove liability include the following:
- Accident scene photos and videos
- Surveillance camera footage of the accident
- Police accident reports or incident reports
- Post-accident inspections
- Maintenance or repair records
- Eyewitness testimony
- Medical records and provider notes
- Reports and testimony from accident reconstruction or engineering experts
What Compensation Is Recoverable in an Orlando Wrongful Death Claim?
We understand that no amount of money can fully account for the loss of a loved one. But monetary compensation could provide your family with a measure of relief. Survivors are often left with financial and personal losses after a family member’s death, and a settlement or award at trial can help survivors move forward.
Under Florida law, compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit can include money for:
- Loss of a loved one’s support and services from the date of injury to their death
- Loss of support and services the decedent would have provided had they lived
- Loss of a deceased spouse’s companionship and protection
- Loss of a deceased parent’s companionship, guidance, or instruction
- Mental pain and suffering from the date of injury to the date of death
- Medical and funeral expenses
- A decedent’s lost earnings from the date of injury to death
- Loss of prospective net accumulations of the decedent’s estate they would have earned but for their death
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Under Florida law, only a decedent’s personal representative may file a wrongful death lawsuit to benefit the estate or the decedent’s surviving family members and/or beneficiaries. A personal representative usually refers to the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. In most cases, a decedent’s spouse, child, parent, or sibling will serve as executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. However, if the decedent has no estate, the court can appoint a personal representative to pursue the wrongful death claim.
How Are Orlando Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
Most wrongful death claims end with a settlement in which the party or parties accused of wrongdoing agree to compensate surviving family members to avoid the need for a trial. These cases can involve significant compensation depending on the circumstances and the family’s financial and emotional losses. As a result, parties may structure the payout of a settlement in one of two ways: a lump-sum settlement or a structured settlement.
Under a lump-sum settlement, the liable party agrees to pay the entire settlement amount in a single payment. Lump-sum settlements benefit surviving family members who need maximum financial resources immediately after a loved one’s death. These resources can help pay for medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and other debts the survivors incur due to their loved one’s death.
Alternatively, the parties may agree to a structured settlement. In a structured settlement, the total compensation is paid out in monthly, quarterly, or annual payments. Payments may increase or decrease over the term of the settlement, or families may receive a large upfront payment or a final “balloon” payment. Although structured settlements mean families must wait to receive the entire settlement amount, they can be the best option when liable parties pay out higher sums.
An Orlando attorney from Paul Knopf Bigger can review the facts of your case and help you decide which wrongful death settlement strategy is best for your family.
What Is the Florida Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?
Under the statute of limitations in Florida, a plaintiff in a wrongful death case typically has two years to file a lawsuit. Although two years might sound like plenty of time, you should contact a Paul Knopf Bigger attorney as soon as possible after a loved one’s passing. Our attorneys may need weeks or months to investigate your claim and prepare a compelling case on behalf of your family. In specific circumstances, the deadline to file a lawsuit could be longer, so you should consult our law firm right away to determine which statute of limitations applies to your case.
If you file your lawsuit after the statutory deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will lose your opportunity to seek compensation in civil court. This is why speaking immediately to a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando is crucial to protecting your right to pursue compensation in Florida.
How an Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
If your loved one has passed away due to another person’s wrongful acts or negligence, you may feel anger, frustration, and grief. Taking time to heal after a family member’s death is crucial to moving forward.
We at Paul Knopf Bigger can handle every detail of your case, giving you time and space to focus on your grief and manage your loved one’s final affairs. Our dedicated attorneys can help you by building a solid case, which includes:
- Investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death to gather critical evidence, including medical records, accident or incident reports, photographs, eyewitness statements, and expert testimony
- Determining who is liable for your loved one’s death and identifying potential sources of compensation, such as insurance coverage
- Documenting your family’s financial and personal losses and calculating the total value of your claim, accounting for past, ongoing, and future expenses and costs
- Discussing your family’s needs, goals, and concerns and advising you on the best legal options for pursuing compensation
- Filing claims and other necessary paperwork on your behalf to ensure that critical documents are filed promptly and correctly
- Communicating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers on your behalf
- Negotiating with the opposing party to seek a fair settlement
- Representing your family at trial if litigation is the best way to pursue the total compensation that you deserve
Contact an Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful acts or negligence, you deserve to seek accountability from those responsible. The compassionate legal team at Paul Knopf Bigger can help you pursue legal action so your family can move forward.
You do not have to face this difficult time alone. Let our attorneys handle the details of your case so that you have the time and space you need to grieve. We have helped families throughout Orlando and can do the same for you.
Contact our office today for a free initial consultation with an Orlando wrongful death lawyer and learn more about your legal options.