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Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death Attorney
Did You Lose Someone in an Accidental Death or Crime?
Losing a family member in an accident or violent attack is a shocking experience. Your life will never be the same going forward. Helpfully, Florida law recognizes that some family members have a right to compensation against the person or business entity responsible for the death.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, our accidental death attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify to bring this claim. Wrongful death lawsuits are unique, with specific rules about who qualifies for compensation. Call our firm to speak with one of the best wrongful death lawyers in Fort Lauderdale about your case.
Contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein today
You Deserve Justice
If you believe that your family member was wrongfully killed, give us a call for a free consultation today!
Contact us to find out how we can help by calling (305) 371-2692.
When is a death “wrongful” under Florida law? Any death caused by the following might apply:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of warranty
- Wrongful act
Most wrongful death cases at our firm stem from accidents or criminal attacks, such as:
- Car collisions: A negligent or distracted driver could slam into your loved one, leading to a traumatic death. Motorists often fail to follow the rules of the road and make illegal lane changes or drive too fast for conditions. Others are fatigued or intoxicated, which makes safe driving impossible.
- Truck accidents: A trucker can collide with another vehicle on the road because of a defect on the truck or because of a failure to exercise proper surveillance. Some truckers are speeding, which prevents them from stopping in time.
- Premises liability claims: Visitors can suffer fatal injuries in fires, electrocution accidents, or other accidents. The property owner must use reasonable care to protect anyone they invite onto the property.
- Slip and falls: A person can slip and fall in stores, private homes, or public buildings. Some of the most dangerous hazards include condensation, ice, water, spilled liquids, trash, and loose tiles.
- Pedestrian accidents: Florida is one of the worst states for pedestrians and regularly leads the country in the number of pedestrian deaths. Fort Lauderdale pedestrians are vulnerable when crossing the street or walking on the sidewalk.
- Bicycle accidents: Cyclists can get clipped by distracted motorists who don’t want to share the road with anyone. Helmets can help reduce injuries, but fatal accidents still occur.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists are vulnerable to being struck by impatient motorists. Many motorcycle accidents happen at intersections or on the open highway. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents are fatal.
- Negligent security: Businesses must have sufficient security based on the history of crime in the area. They might need security cameras, door intercoms, security guards, locks, gates, and additional lighting. When security is inadequate, a property owner might be partially to blame for a violent attack.
- Defective products: Many people die when furniture overturns or children consume dangerous chemicals. Almost any product can be defective when it fails to work as expected.
- Animal attacks and dog bites: Some people are mauled to death, whereas others contract a fatal infection or suffer from sepsis. Dog bites require immediate medical attention. We have sued dog owners as well as property owners in some cases.
- Medical malpractice: Medical providers owe patients a duty to follow the correct standard of care. Unfortunately, many medical errors are fatal, including misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and infections. Your loved one might also not have received sufficient information to give informed consent and died from a dangerous procedure.
- Manslaughter or homicide: We can sue a criminal for intentionally killing your loved one. Manslaughter and homicide are crimes, but they are also “wrongful” under the civil statute.
As you can see, some of these deaths are accidental, such as a fatal collision caused by a distracted driver who was negligent. But others are the result of intentional acts, like someone who punches and fatally wounds your loved one. Regardless, a wrongful death makes the defendant liable for damages to the surviving family members of the wrongful death victim.
How to File a Wrongful Death Case
Following the death of a spouse, parent, or child, you probably feel like the world is spinning. Unfortunately, you have a limited number of days to file your wrongful death claims & the wrongful death lawsuit. In particular, Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d) gives you only two years from the date of death. This is not a lot of time, especially when family members are grieving.
The law also identifies the correct person to file. Although family members can receive compensation in a wrongful death claim, the lawsuit is filed by the estate’s personal representative. This is the person who will handle probating the estate. Your loved one should have nominated someone in their last will and testament. If they died without one, then you must ask the probate court to appoint someone.
The Florida wrongful death attorneys at DDRB can quickly protect your rights by helping you get a personal representative nominated. We can then help this person file a lawsuit against the correct defendant in the right court.
What happens if you go over the two-year deadline? Florida judges can dismiss the lawsuit at the defendant’s request, and you won’t be able to file again. That means no accountability for your loved one’s death and no compensation for your family.
Florida law creates an exception to the deadline when the defendant committed homicide or manslaughter—in other words when the death doesn’t result from an accident. That provides you more time to pull together a claim against the party’s negligence. But reach out at the earliest opportunity to speak with an accidental death lawyer about your situation.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney Near Me Will Help
Many people wonder, “What does a wrongful death law firm near me do?” At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, our wrongful death lawyers oversee your case from start to finish. There are hundreds of wrongful death lawyers in and around Fort Lauderdale, but few can match our skill or experience.
- Review your right to receive compensation in a wrongful death case. Your right depends on your relationship to the deceased, including any financial dependency.
- Analyze the facts known about the death to determine if it was wrongful. For example, your loved one might have been drunk driving when he was involved in a fatal accident. Under Florida’s law, you might be prohibited from receiving compensation since your loved one was primarily responsible for the crash.
- Perform an investigation to uncover more helpful facts. Some accidents are not clear-cut in terms of liability. Maybe your loved one died in a multi-car pileup and questions swirl around who is to blame. We can interview witnesses, review physical evidence, and perform other investigatory tasks.
- Identify all defendants. In some cases, we can sue more than one person. As an example: your loved one might have died in a parking lot attack. Although you can sue the attacker, you might also sue the owner of the parking lot for inadequate security.
- Open a probate case and get a personal representative appointed so that we can file a lawsuit in court.
Proving Wrongful Death
Your loved one might have died, but how do you legally establish the death was wrongful? Some accidents are just that—accidents—and no one is to blame. In other situations, the person responsible might not be identified. What evidence do you need in a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death case?
At DDRB, the evidence we use will depend on the facts. Here are some examples:
- Your loved one was struck by a driver. We might request to see the driver’s cell phone records, which can show when they were talking on the phone. We might also rely on eyewitness testimony to show a driver ran a red light or failed to yield. Other evidence can include nearby surveillance video from a business, which might show clearly who is to blame.
- A drunk motorist killed your loved one. Fatal alcohol-related accidents are unfortunately common across Florida. If the police come to the accident scene, they probably will ask the driver to take a roadside test, or else give a urine or blood sample at the jail. We can seek to introduce these test results, along with eyewitness testimony to prove the driver was intoxicated.
- A defective product killed your loved one. Ideally, you will not junk the product so we can look at it. DDRB has worked with product engineers to identify flaws in design or manufacture. Some products are recalled, which is also proof of a defect.
- Your loved one died due to a medical error. Some helpful evidence includes medical records, the coroner’s report, and testimony from the medical team that treated your loved one. A hospital or medical office might resist turning over evidence. We can use the legal process to force them to hand over relevant information.
Let us review the facts to identify what evidence is most helpful. The last thing you want to do is handle your own case, which could result in a loss in court and no compensation.
Who Receives Compensation for a Fort Lauderdale Wrongful Death?
If you win a wrongful death case, the defendant doesn’t go to jail because this is only a civil action. At most, you can force them to pay you compensation.
The following might recover damages in a Fort Lauderdale wrongful death claim:
- Dependent family members
A dependent family member must have been financially dependent on the deceased to receive money. For example, a disabled sibling might have lived with your family and received medical care and services paid for by your deceased loved one. Or a surviving grandmother could have received money every month for the deceased.
Call our firm if you have questions about your ability to receive compensation. An accidental death lawyer can provide a general overview of your legal rights.
What Compensation Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Near Me Obtain?
Family members can receive financial compensation for losses, called “damages.” The damages you receive will depend on your relationship to the deceased. Some of the damages include:
- Loss of your spouse’s companionship
- Loss of parental companionship and instruction
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of services or support provided by the deceased
- Any medical or funeral expenses a family member paid
We can help you analyze how much compensation might be available. Some of these losses are not economic in nature. For example, a man’s loss of his wife is hard to measure, since companionship, love, and protection are without monetary value. Our legal team can rely on previous wrongful death cases we have handled to estimate a fair amount.
A Survival Action & Wrongful Death
Our law firm can also help with a survival action along with a wrongful death claim. This is a special type of lawsuit for the losses the deceased suffered after the accident:
- Pain and suffering your loved one endured before death
- Lost income
- Medical bills incurred by your deceased
- Property damage, such as a wrecked car
For example, your loved one could have been mortally wounded in a workplace accident on June 1. However, he dies on July 1. In that month, he would have lost income, incurred medical expenses, and suffered pain.
The personal representative can seek compensation in a survival action, and any money goes to the estate. Wrongful death lawyers at DDRB can help with a survival action. They rely on many of the same facts as the wrongful death claim, so using the same lawyer is of benefit.
Why You Might Receive Less than You Hope
Many of our clients ask us to estimate the amount of compensation they can receive in a wrongful death claim. It’s always hard to offer an estimate without full knowledge of the facts. Some clients are eligible to receive seven-figure settlements, while others might receive much less.
Here are some factors that go into the calculation of compensation:
The defendant’s ability to pay. You can win a jury trial for wrongful death, but all you get is a slip of paper telling the defendant to pay you money. It’s now up to the defendant to actually pay.
Unfortunately, some defendants don’t have any money, or their insurance policy is very low. In Florida, for example, motorists aren’t even required to have liability insurance. The deceased’s uninsured motorist coverage might only allow $25,000 in compensation for wrongful death. If the defendant doesn’t have other assets—like cash sitting in a bank account—you might not get as much compensation as you deserve.
In other cases, however, a business defendant should have a hefty liability policy. For this reason, we always analyze whether we can add other defendants to a claim.
Comparative fault. Some accident victims are partially to blame for their accident. Imagine a motorist who cuts off a semi-truck, resulting in an override accident. Although the trucker might have been distracted, the deceased is also to blame for not yielding.
In Florida, a victim’s own share of fault reduces the compensation the defendant pays by a like percentage. Thus, if your loved one was 65% to blame, you will only receive 35% of the damages suffered. Similarly, if your loved one is 25% at fault, you will receive 75%.
Comparative negligence plays a big role in Fort Lauderdale wrongful death cases. We aren’t surprised when the defendant tries to blame your loved one for their death—and they aren’t even around to defend themselves. You can trust our investigatory skills at moments like this. We never accept the defendant’s claim that your loved one is even partially to blame for a fatal accident.
Will Your Case Go to Trial or Settle?
We have had good results in settling wrongful death cases. Avoiding trial is often beneficial since you might not want to relive the tragic accident which killed your loved one. By settling, we can often obtain fair compensation much faster.
Many factors depend on whether you can settle. One is whether there are real disputes over fault. For example, your loved one might have died in a sideswipe accident. But the other driver is convinced the deceased is to blame. In a negligent security claim, a hotel or motel might insist they used adequate safety measures which were reasonable given the history of crime.
There might be questions about whether your loved one even died due to the defendant’s actions. For example, your husband might have been clipped by a distracted motorist when out on a bike ride. He is in the hospital for a week but dies at home from a brain aneurysm. The defendant might claim the death has nothing to do with the accident.
We can also seek a settlement or sue even if the defendant is charged with a crime, like drunk driving. Let us coordinate and determine when is the best time to file a lawsuit.
Why Are You the Best Wrongful Death Lawyers Near Me?
Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein has distinguished itself in Fort Lauderdale in personal injury and wrongful death cases. The legal community has recognized our founders as leaders in the field with prestigious honors, such as membership into the American Board of Trial Advocates and inclusion in Best Lawyers in America®.
We have also obtained more than $1 billion collectively for our clients, including a $1.1 million settlement for a nursing home patient who died from an infected pressure ulcer and $3.9 million for the family of a woman murdered in her home because of an alarm system defect. These are just two of the many favorable results obtained for our clients over the decades.
Other personal injury cases have also netted big awards:
- $1 billion for a smoker who died from lung cancer against Philip Morris USA.
- $5 million for a mother whose young daughter was killed in a drunk driving accident.
- $4 million for a family who lost a loved one in a traffic accident.
- $3.9 million for the family of a woman murdered in her home due to a defect in a security system.
- $3.5 million for the family of a motorcyclist killed by a motorist making an illegal turn.
- $2.4 million for the family of a young man who committed suicide after being discharged too soon from a mental health facility.
- $1.1 million for the family of an elderly man killed by an infected bedsore in a nursing home.
- Many other settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients.
Let us leverage this experience on your behalf.
Do Not Depend on the Insurance Agents to Protect You
Following a tragic death, you might receive a phone call at home from the defendant or its insurer. For example, your wife might have slipped in a store and died in the fall. A few days later, the store’s insurer calls you to propose a settlement.
You should immediately contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein instead. No corporation or insurance company is proposing a settlement out of the goodness of their heart. Instead, they are probably trying to limit their legal liability by reaching out at a time when you are vulnerable. In your moment of grief, you might grab at the first settlement offer.
Let us represent you in any negotiations. This is an emotional time. You probably have no idea how much you can receive for a wrongful death. You can’t expect a corporation or their powerful insurer to level and be honest with you. Instead, they are doing everything in their power to limit what they pay out to protect their bottom line.We’ve got your back. Hang up the phone and reach out to DDRB for a free consultation. We can review any settlement proposal and tell you whether it’s fair.
Contact One of Our Wrongful Death Lawsuit Lawyers Near Me
No one should attempt to file a wrongful death claim on their own. Many large businesses convince grieving family members that they can obtain compensation just fine without a lawyer. You should call our law firm instead.
We have decades of combined experience negotiating settlements after a fatal accident. No matter the case, we bring together deep legal experience and compassionate communication on behalf of our clients. If you want to discuss your legal options, call us to schedule a consultation.
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– Angie G.
Grateful to Dr Dobrinsky and his great team for successfully handling my medical malpractice case. A very professional team, with great experience. I always felt confident that I was in good hands. Grateful and 100% recommended.