Lake City Wrongful Death Lawyer
Death is always an extremely difficult time for any family. If that death was sudden, unexpected, and involved someone else’s negligence, the process is infinitely more difficult. In addition to the emotional trauma, there is also financial and legal trauma. Florida has a wrongful death statute. So, from a procedural standpoint, these cases are different from dog bites and other kinds of negligence claims.
At Douglas & Carter, our experienced Lake City wrongful death lawyers handle a wide range of cases. Although every case is different, we employ proven methods in these claims. These methods involve evidence collection, finding the appropriate legal theory, and fighting for you. This approach has worked very successfully in the past, and we believe that it will also produce results which exceed your expectations.
What Causes Wrongful Death in Lake City?
There are some differences between negligence and wrongful death claims. But in other way, they are very much the same. Like most other personal injury claims, most wrongful death claims involve either negligence, which is a lack of ordinary care, or negligence per se, which is a violation of a safety statute. If the defendant was negligent, and that negligence caused the wrongful death, the defendant is liable for damages.
Additionally, many of the same events that cause serious injury also cause wrongful death. Some examples include:
- Vehicle Collisions: Today’s cars are safer than ever. But all this advanced engineering and design cannot restrain the tremendous amount of force in a high-speed car crash. Vehicle wrecks in semi-rural places like Lake City are often more serious than wrecks in other areas. The extra few seconds it takes to get victims to hospitals often makes a tremendous difference.
- Falls: Slip-and-fall incidents are the leading cause of injury-related death for people over 80. Many of these individuals are already in rather poor physical condition. Any additional trauma is often fatal.
- Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motorcycle Collisions: As mentioned, vehicle occupants are often well-protected in car crashes. But non-motorists often have little or no protection in these crashes. So, their injuries are infinitely more serious.
To establish liability for damages, the victim/plaintiff must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s the lowest standard of proof in Florida law.
Compensation Available to Wrongful Death Plaintiffs
The complex wrongful death statute in the Sunshine State essentially divides wrongful death claims between the estate and the survivors.
A decedent’s personal representative or estate administrator may pursue a wrongful death claim and, if proved, obtain compensation for:
- Future lost wages of the decedent, and
- Any expenses, like burial expenses, which the estate paid directly.
In many situations, it’s very hard to calculate future lost wages. That’s especially true if the decedent was a child. To assist in this process, a Lake City wrongful death attorney usually enlists an accounting professional’s help.
The survivors may also file a separate claim for damages. Legally, either the decedent’s closer relatives (e.g.parents, siblings, or children) or any relative who depended on the decedent for support may pursue claims. Available damages include:
- Lost emotional guidance, and
- Any pecuniary losses, such as the decedent’s final medical expenses.
Additionally, some survivors may be eligible for compensation for their own grief and suffering, under the negligent infliction of emotional distress doctrine.
Reach Out to Experienced Lake City Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
If your loved one died prematurely, you may be able to obtain compensation, and that’s what the deceased person would have wanted. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lake City, contact Douglas & Carter. We routinely handle matters in Columbia County and nearby jurisdictions.