Wrongful Death Lawyer in Ocala, Florida
Losing a loved one is always tragic, but knowing that the loss was the result of another party’s negligence makes it harder to bear. If you lost a family member due to a preventable tragedy, we would first like to offer our heartfelt condolences.
As Ocala wrongful death lawyers, we know we can’t do anything to bring back your loved one or ease your grief. However, we can give your family some peace of mind by fighting for you to receive the financial compensation you deserve when someone else caused their death.
The loss of your loved one is felt in multiple areas, creating numerous holes you can never again fill. In reality, money is not a substitute for the presence of your loved one, and it cannot lessen the pain that your family feels. However, this is the only thing the legal system can do to compensate your family. The responsible party can potentially face criminal charges and have a civil obligation to pay you for what they did.
Wrongful deaths can happen in many ways in Ocala, including a fatal truck crash on I-75, a pedestrian accident at the intersection of South Pine Avenue and SW 17th Street, or a fall from a balcony or another high place.
At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., we help families like yours after a tragic loss. We obtain results you can count on, including $1 million-plus settlements for many traffic accident and premises accident victims with severe and life-threatening injuries. Learn more about our services by setting up a free consultation today.
Getting a Check for Wrongful Death Takes Work in a Difficult Time
Before you can get the settlement check or jury award that your family vitally needs, there is plenty of work that you must do. We understand that you are not in a position to do this work.
You are dealing with grief and do not have the experience to take on insurance companies and their lawyers. As wrongful death attorneys, we are here to do this work on behalf of your family. We will work to ensure that the responsible parties for your loved one’s death are held accountable for what they did and that you recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
One of the first questions families ask us is whether they have a wrongful death claim against the person they believe to be responsible for their loved one’s death. Everything depends on the facts of your case. Wrongful death means that your loved one should not have died, and they would not have but for someone else’s actions.
These wrongful actions can be:
- Grossly negligent
You can count on an experienced wrongful death lawyer from our law firm to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence to prove the negligent parties are responsible for your family member’s death, and advise you of your legal options to recover damages for medical and funeral expenses. We can also help you obtain compensation for the emotional pain and other adverse effects your loved one’s passing has had on your life.
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
In the typical wrongful death case, there has been an accident or other unintended consequences that caused someone’s unexpected death.
Wrongful death claims can arise from any of the following preventable tragedies:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Premises liability cases, such as slip and falls or dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
This list is not exhaustive, and other scenarios can result in an untimely death due to another party’s negligent or wrongful actions. Reach out to an Ocala wrongful death attorney as soon as you can after losing a family member to some other party’s careless, recklessness, negligence, or intentional wrongdoing.
You Must Show the Defendant’s Act Was Wrongful
You can file a lawsuit for any wrongful death, no matter the type of accident. The common thread in any of these cases is that you must prove that someone else was responsible for it.
You must show that someone breached the duty of care that they owed to your loved one to prove negligence. In any wrongful death case, the burden of proof is on you to show that the defendant acted unreasonably under the circumstances.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
To meet your burden of proof,
you need evidence demonstrating what the defendant did. For example, in a car crash, you must show that the defendant was speeding. You can do this through eyewitness testimony. For an insurance claim, the police report can show what they did (but a police report is not admissible evidence in a jury trial because it will be an example of hearsay).
Another example of proving negligence in a premises liability case will be showing what the defendant knew or should have known. In premises liability cases, the property owner often does not take action in enough time to protect you or in the face of known risks. Therefore, maintenance records or other internal records can show that the defendant knew about the possible issue or did nothing.
Gathering evidence for a wrongful death lawsuit is not always easy. Often, it can involve tracking down witnesses or getting evidence that the defendant has in their possession. Your lawyer will investigate your case, and they can obtain relevant information as part of the discovery phase of your case.
Adequate Compensation Is Always an Issue in Wrongful Death Cases
One of your family’s primary concerns is how much money you can get for a wrongful death lawsuit. After all, you are suffering under the weight of losing your loved one. Not only are you dealing with a financial vacuum from the loss of income, but you may also still have medical bills related to the care of your loved one.
There are several ways you can get financial compensation for the death of your loved one, and each requires that you prove negligence:
- The family will file a wrongful death claim for the losses they suffered when their loved one died.
- The estate can file a survival action on behalf of the deceased person for the damages they suffered between the time of their injury and death.
Survival Actions for What Your Loved One Went Through Before They Died
Some people will survive for months or years between the initial injury and the time that they die.
In that time, they can suffer:
- Lost wages and income
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The responsible party does not get to escape responsibility for these damages just because the accident victim died. For example, one can be sickened with cancer from a consumer good or medication they purchased. In that case, they can suffer damages for years. The right to recover those damages now belongs to the estate.
How to Value Your Loved One’s Life
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family can also recover for its losses. Your loved one has value to you in many ways. Although it may seem complicated, you must use the money to put a value on what the family member meant to you.
Before they died, your loved one may have been:
- A breadwinner who contributed financial support to the family
- A loving and cherished member of the family who contributed just by being present
- A parent who guided children and provided them with support
- A loving spouse who provided physical and emotional comfort for their spouse
Family Members Who Can Recover in a Wrongful Death Case
Each element of these damages gets a monetary value. Certain surviving family members can receive compensation for the loss of the loved one and the specific role they played.
Florida law mentions each person who can recover compensation for the losses they suffered, and they include:
- The surviving spouse
- Parents of the deceased individual
- Children of the decedent
- Family members who depended in whole or in part on the deceased person for support (financial or otherwise)
One person will have the legal right to file a lawsuit on behalf of everyone, which can be the decedent’s personal representative or a representative of the deceased person’s estate. The hope is that the family members will work together on the lawsuit, and they can agree on the division of the proceeds. Family members may not always agree, especially when a large amount of money is on the line. If the family cannot agree, the court will decide how the proceeds are divided between surviving spouses, blood relatives, and other qualified parties.
Factors That Will Affect How Much Money Your Family Gets
Many factors can influence the money your family gets:
- How much insurance coverage does the responsible party have
- The age of the deceased person
- The deceased person’s profession and the possibility of future earnings
- The nature of their relationship with family members
- Whether there is a corporate defendant (they will likely have more insurance coverage)
- Whether you can recover punitive damages from the defendant
The Size of Your Payment Depends on How Hard You Fight
One of the other main factors that will determine your compensation is how hard you fight for every dollar. That is what the insurance company will make you do. They don’t really care why you are filing a claim or you have lost a loved one.
They view every single claim the same way, as an expense that comes from their profits. Accordingly, they will try to pay you as little as possible, although your family has suffered grave damages from losing their loved one.
The Legal Process in a Wrongful Death Case
After your loved one has died, you should contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The legal process is not something you should try to do on your own. It takes effort and skill to prove someone else’s liability and secure the right financial compensation from the liable parties.
Your first step is to contact an attorney for an initial consultation. You will not need to pay anything to have this conversation. Your attorney will learn more about the facts of your case, and they will answer your questions about the legal process. Once you and your attorney decide to work together, they will begin the legal process.
Your attorney will lay out multiple pathways for financial compensation. You may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant. Usually, this begins the process of negotiating a settlement since most cases do not go to trial. You can also file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company to negotiate a possible settlement without filing a lawsuit (with the possibility of filing a case if you cannot reach a settlement agreement).
What a Wrongful Death Attorney Does for Your Family
Then, your wrongful death attorney may:
- Investigate the cause of the death and figure out all the responsible defendants (in many cases, there is more than one defendant who played a role in the death)
- Gather the evidence that is necessary to prove that someone else was responsible
- Work with you to determine the best possible route to financial compensation.
- File either a claim or lawsuit on your behalf
- Negotiate compensation with the defendant if you can agree on a settlement
- Argue your case in court to a jury if you do not reach a settlement agreement
A wrongful death case is complex and detailed, requiring your attorney to process reams of evidence obtained in discovery. What you obtain in discovery can dictate the success of your case and how much money you can get. Defendants often get more motivated to settle after discovery because they know you got your hands on crucial information.
The legal process is critical, but you should also consider what you will do with the wrongful death settlement proceeds and how you will preserve and manage the money.
Some of the funds will be for minor children, who should not take possession of the money right now, resulting in the need for a trust. You will also decide whether to accept a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement.
Your attorney can advise you on all these issues.
If you have a large sum of money coming in (wrongful death damages are usually higher), you must prepare to carefully manage and protect it.
Contact an Ocala Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
When you are dealing with the loss of a family member, the last thing you need is to add complications to your life. You need a lawyer by your side to help you bring a wrongful death action and help you build the most compelling case possible.
The attorneys at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. handle complex and challenging wrongful death cases with determination and compassion for the families involved. While we will treat your family with sensitivity, we will also fight hard on your behalf. Insurance companies know that we mean business, and they sit up and take notice when they see that you have hired us.
You can call us today at (352) 377-9000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and take the first step towards accountability and justice for your loved one’s untimely death. Let us put our nearly four decades of experience to work for you and your family.
1521 S Pine Avenue
Ocala, FL 34471
My experience was more than great, from the moment I acquired about their services to the moment my case was finalized and settled, there was steady communication, and I was consistently in the loop. They explain things to you in a way that you can understand and ensure that you are involved in the decision making. Everyone is super kind and stays in contact with you even after settling. They truly care about your well being and I will definitely keep them at the top of the list for any other cases.